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Maybe your loved one was raped. Maybe you’re worried about the person your friend is dating. Maybe someone you know is living in a hurtful or dangerous relationship. What can you do?

  1. Believe her/his story. Two of the most important responses you can offer are “I believe you” and “I’m here for you”.
  2. Reassuring statements. What you say (and how you say it) makes all of the difference. Here are some things you might consider saying:
    • “You’re here and that’s all that matters. You didn’t do anything wrong. You did a lot of things right. You survived.”
    • “I don’t think any less of you because of this.”
    • “It was not your fault. You don’t deserve this.”
    • “You don’t have tell me how you feel, but I’m here to listen if you want to talk.”
    • “You don’t have to worry about me or take care of my feelings.”
    • “I may not know what it’s like to be in your shoes, but I can see you’re hurting.”
    • “I will leave if you need to be alone.”
  1. Listen. Support your loved one by being non-judgmental and resisting the urge to shower her/him with advice. Don’t pressure her/him to talk or give more detail then she/he is willing to share.
  2. Respect her/his decisions. The decision to tell others and/or to contact those who can help is a personal decision that only your loved one can make. Remember: what is right for you may not be right for someone else.

Note: If your loved one is under the age of 18, and has been assaulted or abused, it is required by law that a report be made.

  1. Educate yourself. Education is a powerful tool, and SAAVI can help. Contact us with any questions.