Supporting Survivors


  • Do… believe the individual disclosing. Listen to their experience and reassure that it is in no way their fault. Provide validation and put the power back in their hands.
  • Do… discuss options and other forms of support. Help the survivor to understand the difference between confidential and non-confidential resources.
  • Do… encourage them to seek medical attention and/or counseling, IF they are open to the idea. Emphasize the importance of taking care of mental and physical health.
  • Do… take care of yourself. This can be a very intensive, draining process. Remember that you do not have to serve as the only resource to the survivor. Ask for help if you need it.


  • Do not… share the survivor’s story without their permission. This trauma is personal, and only the survivor should be sharing their story, unless permission has been explicitly stated, or you are legally obligated to.
  • Do not… tell the survivor what to do. An act of sexual violence is centered in the objectification of the victim. Instructing a survivor on what they should or should not do takes more power away from the victim, and dictating their actions also removes the survivors voice.
  • Do not… minimize the assault, or question the details surrounding the incident. This includes making excuses for the perpetrator, or questioning the amount of time that has passed between the incident and disclosure.
  • Do not… appear to be unbothered, or unresponsive to their experience. This creates more feelings of isolation and inadequacy.

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