Student QUESTION of the Week:What do I say to a sexual assault survivor I care about who is not seeking help?

Heart_icon_red_hollow.svgSTUDENT QUESTION:

I saw “Can I Kiss You?” at my school a couple of years ago. It was very inspirational.

I just found out someone close to me was raped during a date a year ago. She says not to worry and that she’s okay. I know she doesn’t want to get help or see a psychologist. I don’t know what to do. I hope you can give me advice.

Do your best to be a SUPPORT person without trying to control or pressure your friend into action she is not ready for. Each survivor deserves to make his or her own choices.

As we share in the “Can I Kiss You?” Show, let your friend know how strong, courageous, and amazing she is. Let her know you will always be here for her. Share how she DESERVES to talk with a professional and let her know you are aware of some local resources (do your research first so that you have the phone number of the local sexual assault crisis center available).

If a survivor chooses not to pursue professional support and/or help, you have to honor that survivor’s choice. The one exception would be if the survivor is in danger of hurting her/him self. Protecting the life of a friend would take priority.

If you are struggling with how to handle the news that a loved one has been sexually assaulted, YOU talking with a counselor or therapist can be a great option. If you are at a school, you most likely have counselors available to you. Counselors and therapists will honor your confidentiality. Talking with a professional can be a huge help for many people.

IMPORTANT: Please know we are NOT professional counselors, therapists, or mental health professionals. This advice is shared with you based on the many experts we have worked with over the years and from the feedback survivors around the country have shared with us.


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