What to Remember When You Check on Your Strong Friend Who Was Abused

Take a deep breath and try all over again

It is incredibly difficult to share with someone that you know.

“I was abused.”

“I was victimized.”

“I was attacked.”

“I was assaulted.”

“I was raped.”

“I was molested.”

It can be easier to say these things to people who do not know you. Working in direct service to victims in person and via chat, once a rapport is established, people tend to open up.

Slowly at first, but just enough to feel better and let the light in.

It isn’t just the details. Victims wonder what people are thinking of them now.

Does this change their opinion of me?

Do they think that I am weak?

Do they think that I wanted it?

Do they think that I am weird? strange? crazy?

It’s an awkward thing to relive, and it can be overwhelming for many. However, it’s important that friends and family of the victim know how to be supportive.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

*Let the victim know that you’re there for them.

It can be hard to find the words to express what you’re feeling. So, it’s important to let the victim know that they don’t have to do anything alone. Simply being there for them is a huge help in healing.

*Let them talk about it.

It’s natural for victims to want to keep the abuse hidden. However, it’s important to encourage them to talk about what happened. This can be a difficult process but it’s important for the victim to get the words out.

Talking about what has happened is a huge first step in healing. It is also important to build a support system of people who you can talk to about what has happened to you. This can be your friends, family, therapist, or any other support system you find helpful.

*Let them be themselves.

The victim of sexual abuse isn’t the only one that has been hurt. Many victims have also been through a lot of emotional trauma. It’s important to let them be themselves and not try to fix them.

*Encourage them to seek help.

If the victim is comfortable with it, encourage them to seek help from a counselor or therapist. Perhaps join a support group or build a community with other victims and Survivors of similar trauma. This can be a very healing process and will help them to process the abuse.

There are many things survivors of sexual abuse need to know in order to heal. This includes knowing there is help available, knowing that you are not alone, and knowing that you are not responsible for the abuse.

Talking about what has happened is a huge first step in healing. It is also important to build a support system of people who you can talk to about what has happened to you. This can be your friends, family, therapist, or any other support system you find helpful.

It is essential that victims are not encouraged to seek help from people who do not have expertise in this area. A helping professional who blames, shames, or invalidates the victim can do far more harm than good.

*Support them during the healing process.

If you’re a friend or family member of a victim of sexual abuse, it’s important to be there for them during the healing process. This may include listening, providing support, and being there when they need you.

Everyone has their own lives. Time and energy are limited. Your boundaries are important too.

It could be helpful to kindly express to victims how you are able to provide support (talking, doing fun things that offer a healing distraction, or praying with them).

Also providing times when you are most available energy and time-wise.

This can help to avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

It is also important that victims are intentionally active in their own healing. Take full ownership of it.

This means getting outside, exercising, and doing things that make you happy. This is important to avoid a relapse into despair or depression. Relapse can happen when you start to think about the abuse and you start to feel like you can’t do anything about the pain. The sense of powerlessness makes a return.

Remember, you are not alone in this, and you can heal.

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