How To Support A Sexually Abused Victim
The 2019 Stop Abuse Event did not only talk about the realities of sexually abused victims but also provided tips to loved ones who care. Admit it or not, we don’t know how to approach these people. Do we walk on glass with everything we say or do we lend an ear and say nothing at all? With these in mind, here are some of the things that you should know, and a few tips you can apply when consoling them.
Listen To What They Have To Say
Each victim has their own story. There are times that they might feel a little awkward about what has happened to them. If they are ready to talk, however, then make sure to listen to their story. Let them express their fear, frustration, anger, and sadness in their struggles. At the same time, do not try to butt in when they’re in the middle of their story as they might only feel judged.
Show Empathy, Not Sympathy
Most sexually abused victims prefer receiving empathy as compared to sympathy. They want to feel loved and understood. Some of the phrases that you can utter are the following:
- “You’re so courageous to be able to talk about this.”
- “I believe in you.”
- “You have done nothing wrong to deserve this.”
- “It will never be your fault.”
- “You are not alone.”
- “I am here to listen and help in every way I know how.”
- “This should not have happened to you.”
Avoid saying statements like “Don’t cry.” or “Cheer up.” Let them process their feelings and show your support by understanding what they’re going through.
Regularly Check Up On Them
Even if they experienced these sexual assaults a long time ago, you should still check them regularly. Although it’s in the past already, it does not mean that it’s entirely gone. Always ask how they are to remind them that there are still a lot of people who care for their wellbeing.
Know Your Resources
You’re a reliable and consistent supporter, but you must know how to manage these situations. To be able to validate their feelings, you must educate yourself using reliable resources on the internet.