HOW YOU (YOU!) CAN SUPPORT THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED

Recap: I have my MSW and am a certified sexual assault crisis counselor. Also, I did this one a while back. It is much more comprehensive, start with it! LET'S TALK ABOUT SEXUAL ASSAULT (TRIGGER WARNING!)
  1. If you live in a hole, then you may not have heard about the former Stanford student (Brock Turner) who received a jail sentence of 6 months for raping a young woman.
    The judge decided this amount of time was appropriate because a longer sentence would have a "severe impact on him".
  2. First, some facts.
    Most rape cases do not go to trial. Most.
  3. DAs will only pick up cases that they believe they can win.
    It's a really, really sad truth.
  4. The FBI description of a rapist is:
    Athletic, young, well liked, charismatic
  5. Most rapes go unreported.
    Makes sense with the backlash that victims get when they speak publicly about their sexual assaults.
  6. Okay, so here's how you can support someone who has been sexually assaulted.
  7. Believe them.
  8. Listen.
  9. Allow them to set the tone for what happens or what doesn't happen.
    Do they want a forensic exam? Great. Do they want to report? Great. Do they want to ignore it for a bit? Okay. Do they not want to ever report? Okay. It's their choice. No one else's.
  10. Obviously, do not victim blame.
  11. Recognize that they are going to do some things that may seem uncharacteristic (or not how a "rape victim" would act) to you, but that that is how they are coping.
    That's normal. That's okay. There's no such thing as an abnormal response to rape.
  12. Don't ask details unless they bring them up and want to share.
    The details don't matter. If you ask, you could inadvertently bring up something that they have tucked away in their memory for now and do not want to bring out.
  13. Encourage them to call RAINN.
  14. Be on their speed dial.
  15. Remind them that, no matter what, it was not their fault.
    Rape. Is. A. Crime. If they were in 7-11 and a man came in and mugged them, would we ask "Why were you at 7-11?!" No. Crime is crime. The victims are not to blame.
  16. Understand that it's going to be a long ride.
    Peaks and valleys. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
  17. On a macro level, speak up often against sexual assault.
  18. Donate to your local rape crisis center.
  19. Become a volunteer.
    On a hotline or to accompany to forensic exams.
  20. If anyone has any questions or would like to chat about this, let me know :)