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?
- Believe her/his story. Two of the most important responses you can offer are “I believe you” and “I’m here for you”.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- Educate yourself. Education is a powerful tool, and SAAVI can help. Contact us with any questions.