What to do if your friend is raped
Find out how to help a friend who is raped or sexually assaulted.
Rape is a traumatic event in a person’s life. It has rippling effects on friends and family. Your friend needs time to heal – it does not happen overnight.
What you should know:
- Your friend may be afraid of:
- Being alone
- Anything that reminds her or him of the rape and/or rapist
- Reactions from people she or he cares about
- Your friend may experience feelings of:
- Outrage, guilt, anger or embarrassment
- Physical pain from being hurt and abused
- Helplessness, isolation, alienation and withdrawal
- Your friend may have difficulty:
- Relating to others
- Expressing affection
How you can help your friend:
- Know the facts: According to recent FBI statistics, a rape happens every 6 minutes in the United States.
- Believe your friend. It takes courage and strength to tell someone about a traumatic event. Your friend trusts you.
- Listen to your friend. Let your friend talk at his or her own pace. Give control to your friend.
- Give information to your friend about getting help, but let your friend decide when to call.
- Take care of yourself. Resources are available to help you support your friend.