For Supporters

We understand that rape and sexual assault can have a huge impact on both the individual and the people around them. We are all individuals and everyone's reaction to sexual assault or rape will be different. Be aware they may not react in the way you would think. 

Being supportive, respectful and non-judgemental is the best way to help the person who was assaulted to cope and, over the long-term, recover.

Here are some tips on how you can help:

  • Believe what they tell you. They may find it difficult to explain what happened in a clear and consistent way. This is because sexual assault and rape are traumatic experiences. The body and brain can react in complex ways resulting in memories that are confused.
  • Ask them how you may be able to help but give them time and space to respond, and respect their decisions. Restoring their sense of control over themselves and their life is vital in helping them to begin to recover from what has happened to them.
  • Reassure them that their feelings are normal. This includes feelings of self-blame and guilt but remind them that responsibility lies with the person who did this to them.
  • Check that they are now physically safe and if not, help them to make arrangements to become safe. Tell them that you are there to help and offer information about The Bridgeway.
  • Do not make promises you cannot keep.

If you feel you need support to deal with the emotional impact of what has happened, you can contact The Bridgeway. Staff know what services are available and will be able to refer you, or provide information so you can contact services yourself.