How to Help


If you are in immediate danger or feel unsafe, call 911.

YWCA 24-Hour Confidential Helpline
616.454.YWCA (616.454.9922)


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.