I found this excellent video by Nina Burrowes explaining perfectly how to support your friend or family member – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZKfi0qk7fg
…. and another one by Nina Burrowes called ‘Should I go to the police?’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmJItniKYK4
This is a place for us survivors to give advice to the people trying to support us.
- BELIEVE US!!! Sometimes, even voicing the smallest of doubts can destroy us.
- Denial – It happened whether you want to face it or not. We are finding it hard to accept so please don’t pretend it didn’t happen or that it hasn’t affected us. It did happen and it is affecting us; it will affect us in many different ways, which leads me on to my next point.
- Let us be in whatever mood we are in – sometimes we might be happy, sometimes sad, sometimes angry – when we are happy don’t say, “Oh the old you is back.” It puts a lot of pressure on us to be “the old you” again when we’re maybe not ready to be and maybe never will be.
- You and everyone that we have told should be 100% behind us. If you realise someone isn’t and is making us feel bad, stick up for us to them. Sometimes, we just don’t have that strength. Show us that you are on your own side.
- Don’t make the survivor ever have to see their abuser/rapist/attacker again. It might be awkward to avoid or embarrassing for you, but try to think how awful it is for us.
- Never minimise the assault. You might think dumbing the situation down and saying but it was ‘just’ this or ‘just’ that is helpful but it is the furtherest thing from helpful. By minimising the assault you are not telling me that my emotions are not valid or justified and implying that I don’t need support. My brain is confused enough as it is, don’t confuse me anymore.
- There is never an easy way of saying it so we will probably blurt it out, maybe when we aren’t sombre. But it happened and telling you was a very brave and courageous thing to do. So acknowledge it, don’t pretend it didn’t happen and listen to us when we need your support. Offer to be there again.
- Never say ‘that doesn’t seem that bad’, yes it doesn’t seem that bad to you because it didn’t happen to you!
I found this great website whilst writing this website, here is 12 ways to support Survivors of sexual violence – http://purposefullyscarred.com/2013/10/16/12-ways-to-support-a-survivor-of-abuse/
Advice and Support to Parents
- PACE UK (Parents against childhood sexual exploitation – http://paceuk.info/
- Parents Protect Against Child Sexual Abuse – http://www.parentsprotect.co.uk/home.htm
- Child Sexual Abuse – http://www.stopitnow.org.uk/home.htm
Support for Partners
- Support for Partners – http://www.supportforpartners.org/faq.html