How we can help you to help others
We offer support to friends, partners and relatives or others involved in supporting survivors who are welcome to ring our helpline 0808 802 0013 for support.
If you are supporting someone who has been raped or abused, you may well need support yourself. We recognise how important the support of partners, friends, relatives and carers can be for a survivor, to help them feel back in control of their lives.
Supporting someone who has been abused
When someone has been raped or sexually abused they may feel scared, distressed, humiliated, angry, powerless, confused, numb and guilty. These feelings may vary greatly from day to day or month to month.
What you can do
Survivors of abuse have individual responses to being abused and what helps one person may not be useful for another. However, it is clear that there are some things that are important to the majority of survivors. What always seems to help is having someone around who will listen and not rush them to ‘get better’ or ‘forget about it’; someone who will try to understand how they are feeling and what they want in the way of support.
What is always essential is for a survivor to feel that they are believed. Whatever the circumstances of the abuse, there is always one dominant feature - that it was something forced on them, against their will and that it deliberately took control from them, ignoring what they wanted.
The use of force, whether physical or not, is always a violent act, causing distress and humiliation. To help a survivor regain control over their life and begin to rebuild their sense of worth, it is crucial to recognise how upsetting and frightening it is to be forced against your will in this way.
It is everyone’s basic human right to be free from threat, harassment or attack.
When a person has been raped or sexually abused they may lose their feelings of safety and trust. With your help they need to rebuild those feelings of control, trust and self-worth.
For ideas on how you can support a survivor to feel that they are back in control of their life, after their experience of rape or sexual abuse, please click on the purple button below.
More information can also be found on our Resources Page.