Be non-judgmental, open-minded, and understanding. Try not to minimize their feelings. Say “it sounds like it was really scary” instead of “it couldn’t have been that bad”. Avoid suggesting how they should feel. Expect a wide range of feelings. Don’t press for details.
Tell them that you believe their story. Offer a calm and accepting response. Convey a sense of hope. Tell them that your feelings for them have not changed as a result of hearing this.
Remain calm, attentive, and concerned
Let them be in control and resist the urge to over-protect. Don’t tell others without asking first.
Accept that you can’t fix it. Learn about the issue so you can better understand their experience. Recognize that healing will have it own pace. Learn about resources (crisis lines, assault centres, counselors) for your friend.
Take care of yourself
Recognize and respect your own limits. Find a supportive person to talk to. Practice self-awareness. Accept that you can’t fix what happened.
For more information or to access support for yourself, get in touch with the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre by clicking here or calling (250) 383-3232.