If you, or someone you know, has been a victim of sexual assault, you may wonder what you should do next. How do you move past the incident? How do you help your loved one? There is an array of information for victims of sexual assault whilst studying at college that you may find beneficial, whether for yourself or to aid someone else – click the link to find out more. Wherever the assault happened, whether at college, on a night out or even at work, nobody deserves to suffer alone.
While there are initial steps that you could help the victims with following the event, such as speaking to law enforcement, a medical advisor, and, if wanted, a counselor – there are also other steps you can put in place to help, read on…
If the person wants to talk, it is imperative that you listen. Don’t hear their story to give your opinion, or even to give a response. Allow them the platform they need to begin to accept what happened to them. Likewise, if your friend does not wish to talk, it might be best to avoid pressuring them. Any responses should come from a place of love and compassion, rather than judgment. Reiterating that they are not to blame, that they are worthwhile, and that they are loved may also help.
While you cannot make the events go away, nor block them out, you can always offer help to your friend. This may involve accompanying them to give statements relating to the incident, but also to assist in everyday life. They might have concerns regarding the location of the assault, so may benefit from extra support and reassurance when in that area. Other help in day-to-day tasks may also be beneficial as the emotional strain they may be feeling can cause feelings of lethargy. Again, it is important to not be too pushy, but instead to gently remind your friend that you are there for them.
While it isn’t best to avoid the subject entirely due to processing needs, it can sometimes be helpful to allow the person to take their mind off of what has happened to them. This can be done in a number of healthy ways, such as spending time with family or friends, watching movies, going for walks, or simply engaging in activities that the person enjoys. It is key here that you try to limit any alcohol consumption, as this is an unhealthy method of coping that can lead to health problems and addiction. Also, while avoidance of the subject may seem like a good idea for your friend, it can cause further problems later on due to unresolved thoughts and feelings about the event.
However you choose to assist your loved one, remember that you may also need support. It can be worthwhile to research methods of helping, but also to ensure your own mental health isn’t suffering in the process. Dealing with a situation as serious and complex as sexual assault can also be quite taxing on those who give support, so it might be a good idea to speak to a councilor of your own, or ask your friend if you can accompany them to appointments, to ensure you are also adequately supported.