“I believe you”

Letting your friend know that you believe that they were sexually assaulted will help your friend a great deal. Most victims never report the crime due to fear of not being believed. Reassure your friend that you believe they are telling the truth—even if there is no physical evidence.

“I’m here to listen — not judge.”

Be supportive by listening, not judging or prying. Questions like, “Why did you go there alone?” are blaming, not reassuring. Let her/ him share only what she/ he is able to. Let them take their time sharing the details—don’t pry or judge.

“It’s not your fault!”

Never blame your friend. Don’t let them blame themselves either. Rape is never the victim’s fault even if she/ he didn’t yell for help, or fight back or was drinking. Keep reminding them it’s not their fault.

“What do you need from me right now? How can I help you best?”

Ask what your friend needs. Don’t make assumptions or tell your friend how to handle the situation. Let her/ him be in control of who knows about the assault & how they manage their life—this will help them regain the control that was lost during the assault.

“You survived & that’s what really matters”

Reassure your friend that the most important thing is they are alive and got through the situation as best as they could.

“It’s okay to talk about your feelings as long as you need – I’m here.”

It’s normal to feel angry, afraid, anxious & depressed—there’s no right way to respond to a sexual assault. Remind your friend of that & if their feelings intensify & seem to overwhelm her/ him, support them in seeking help. Have them call our crisis line 24/7 at 1.800.670.7273