The Lack of Support Given to Survivors of Sexual Assault
While the #MeToo movement has sparked awareness of sexual assault and encourages survivors to speak out against their perpetrators, more work needs to be done. Sadly, there is still a stigma placed upon victims of sexual assault — that it’s somehow their fault that it happened. The lack of support for victims of sexual assault is unconscionable, and victim-blaming is one of the main reasons survivors don’t speak up.
Here are some ways you can support a loved one who is a sexual assault survivor.
What NOT to Say to a Survivor of Sexual Assault
To truly help and support survivors of sexual assault move forward with their lives, it’s critical to know what it means to “victim blame.” Here are some examples of things someone may say to a sexual assault survivor that puts shame and blame on their shoulders:
- What were you wearing when it happened?
- You were asking for it.
- What were you thinking?
- You shouldn’t have gone to his house, apartment, etc.
- You shouldn’t have been drinking.
- Did you lock your door?
- Why didn’t you say no or try to stop it?
- How hard did you fight back?
- Why didn’t you report the assault sooner?
How to Support Loved Ones Who are Sexual Assault Survivors
When it comes to supporting a loved one who has gone through the traumatic experience of sexual assault, it’s critical to:
- Listen and refrain from asking probing questions.
- Let them know you believe them.
- Let them know it’s not their fault.
- Support their choice in speaking up or not speaking up (everyone’s comfort level and time frame on when they are ready to call out their attacker is different).
- Ask how they would like for you to support and help them.
- Encourage (not force) them to seek support groups/therapy.
How to Seek Justice After a Sexual Assault
Survivors of sexual assault are often shamed and blamed for what happened. Know that you are not alone and there is help available. When dealing with the physical and emotional effects in the aftermath of sexual assault, the long-term consequences can be difficult to bear. We want every sexual assault survivor to know that we believe them and the sexual violence that occurred was not their fault.
If you are a sexual assault survivor, is here to help you when you’re ready to speak out against your abuser. We are here to advocate on your behalf and protect your right to pursue a sexual assault claim. Let us help bring you closure so you can move forward with your life.
Contact us today at (833) 456-3529 to learn your rights.