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  • Danielle McHaney

How Can You Support Those Who Disclose Sexual Assault?

If someone you know has been sexually assaulted, it's important to provide support and empower them to make their own choices. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Believe and validate: Listen to them without judgment and assure them that you believe their experience. Let them know that you are there for them and that what happened is not their fault.

2. Encourage medical attention: Suggest that they seek medical care, even if they are unsure about involving law enforcement. Offer to accompany them to a healthcare facility that specializes in sexual assault forensic exams. WRAP sexual assault advocates are on call 24/7 for hospital accompaniment.

3. Respect their decisions: Empower them to make their own choices regarding reporting the assault, seeking counseling, or involving other support services. Respect their autonomy and reassure them that you will support their decisions.

4. Offer resources: Provide information about WRAP for support services for survivors of sexual assault. Share helpline numbers, counseling services, and resources for legal assistance. WRAP's helpline is 800-273-8712.

5. Be patient and supportive: Healing from sexual assault takes time, and everyone's journey is different. Offer ongoing support, understanding, and patience as they navigate their recovery process.

6. Educate yourself: Take the time to educate yourself about sexual assault, consent, and the available resources in your community. This will help you provide informed support and be an ally to survivors. Visit the Start By Believing campaign website for information and resources.

Remember, it is essential to prioritize the survivor's well-being and respect their choices throughout the process. Encourage them to seek professional support from organizations like WRAP, who specialize in providing assistance to survivors of sexual assault.


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