The effects of sexual violence extend far beyond the primary survivor. Friends, family members and loved ones can be profoundly affected when someone they care about experiences sexual assault or abuse.
It's important to recognize and address your own reactions to the assault or abuse of a loved one so that you can provide support rather that possibly traumatizing them further. How you react may depend on the factors including the nature of the assault, the age of the survivor and your relationship to them.
It is normal for you to experience some or all of these feelings:
- Sleep disturbances
- Guilt of shame
Ask the survivor what they would like you to do to be supportive. Helping them regain their sense of control is important; give them time to decide how they want to proceed legally or otherwise.
The Outer Banks Hotline offers support for family, friends and loved ones even if the victim/survivor does not want our services. Be patient with your loved one and yourself as you both take time to heal.