SUPPORTING SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE
If a woman chooses to tell you that she has been raped, then she is investing a lot of trust in you. Your responses are important… The attitudes and responses of the people closest to a woman who has been raped have the potential either to extend the crisis or to help her deal with it.’ (Brisbane Rape and Incest Survivors Support Centre, October 2002, Facts on Rape F.O.R. WOMEN, Brisbane, p. 26)
The value of relationship
It is important to remember that sexual violence is a crime in which perpetrators seek to control and dominate another person. It is therefore imperative to work in ways that promote a woman’s sense of power and control and to develop a relationship with a woman that does not reflect the dynamics that were/are present between the perpetrator and the woman.
Defining your own feelings
It is important to be mindful of your own feelings and reactions and to seek support from someone other than the woman who has experienced sexual violence. It is natural that you may feel shocked, angry, sad or confused (Or all of these at once!).
You may wonder whether she could have done something to prevent the sexual violence. You may feel a desire to confront or enact revenge on the perpetrator. You might feel a strong urge to ‘do something’ or have the woman ‘do something’. These are all common reactions.
It may be useful to reflect on the following questions:
Or contact us.
We can arrange an interpreter.