If you are in immediate danger or feel unsafe, call 911.
How To Help
- Believe them.
- Reinforce that the assault was not their fault.
- Validate their experiences.
- Be supportive; don’t overreact.
- Be patient. The survivor may express a range of strong emotions.
- Allow the survivor to offer or not offer the details of the assault; don’t pry.
- Don’t gossip. Allow the survivor to choose who they share details of the assault with.
- Understand the survivor might not want to be touched.
- Consider that this experience is only ONE part of this person’s life. Don’t let it overshadow other aspects and experiences.
- Avoid being overly protective or attentive. The survivor may want safety and company, but not necessarily want to be the center of attention.
- Don’t take decision-making power away from the survivor.
- It is okay for you to have needs as well. Find support for yourself.
- Call the YWCA (616.454.9922) for additional guidance.