Not everyone will experience sexual assault the same way. It will effect you in a way that is as unique as you are. How you respond is a very personal decision. What works for some may not work for others. Some victims will seek and get justice while many others looking for it will end up feeling abandoned and devastated. Most will say nothing at all.
Your path to healing is your path to walk. There are many organizations and people who are there to help and support you. If you need to – reach out for help.
If you are a survivors loved one, or just a friend who cares, what you do and say is vitally important. Words can heal and words can hurt so always keep in mind what you say. Give the statistics around sexual assault and abuse someone in your life has been affected. If they haven’t opened up to you ask yourself if you’ve created an environment for them to feel safe enough to do so.
Support has many forms but one thing should rule how you help – ask first. What can you do, what do they need, and what do they want of you? Don’t try to control how someone else chooses to heal. And be honest – if you have no idea what to do or say than say so.
The Avalon Sexual Assault Centre in Halifax has put together some helpful information if you want to help someone who has been assaulted. If you are a loved one you need help too. Remember that. Reach out.