Support a Survivor – Sexual Assault

If a loved one discloses a recent sexual assault, have them call the SafePlace 24-hour Hotline 512.267.SAFE (7233). It is very important to seek medical attention even if the survivor does not want to file charges against the perpetrator.

There are many ways that you can offer compassionate support after an attack to help begin the healing process.

Immediately after an assault

  • Listen. Be there. Don’t be judgmental. Never suggest the survivor did something wrong or was at fault in any way.
  • Suggest, but do not pressure, they seek medical attention or support through Eloise House, the 24-hour Hotline or counseling.
  • Respect their decisions. Rape and sexual assault take away an individual’s power, it is important not to pressure your loved one to seek police intervention, outside counseling or to call a hotline.
  • If you are dealing with sexual assault or abuse involving your child, create a safe place by talking directly to them without judgment or blame.
  • In a case of incest, it is important to support your child by believing and helping them without blaming them. This support is important regardless of if you are the parent of the child or not.
  • If your loved one is willing to seek medical attention or report the assault, suggest calling our 24-hour Hotline and requesting Hospital Accompaniment by SafePlace. We can provide information and guidance. Offer to drive them or support them at the hospital as well.

Help them begin to heal

  • Encourage good health and self-care. Nutritious foods, exercise and plenty of sleep will help a survivor as they work through sadness and trauma.
  • Encourage emotional self-care. Therapy, journaling, meditation and supportive relationships will help with healing.
  • Encourage counseling. This could mean seeing a psychologist, a clinical social worker or therapist. SafePlace provides counseling for sexual assault survivors. Call the 24-hour Hotline for more information.
  • Encourage hobbies, leisure activities and time spent with friends and family.
  • Don’t rush the healing process. People need time to heal and everyone heals at their own pace. Be patient and supportive.
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