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If a friend of yours or someone in your family has been the victim of sexual abuse or misconduct, you may be wondering what you should do (or if there's anything you CAN do)...

YES! There are many things you can do to help. Here are just a few ideas for friends and families of survivors.  

Please remember that while you can be a great comfort, survivors of sexual abuse and misconduct should ALWAYS seek professional help.

  • Listen. Be there, be present, and listen. Allow your friend to share his or her story when ready. Listen without judgment, with an open mind, and with a receptive heart. Validate that you have heard your friend, and remind your friend that it is not his or her fault. Then offer whatever kind of support he or she might need from you.

  • Encourage your friend to tell an authority – a parent, a school administrator, another teacher at the school, or someone at the police station. Remind your friend that sharing his or her story can help stop the abuser from harming someone else. Continue telling people until you find someone that will help.

  • Be available. Your friend might need to talk or vent to you at different times. Try to be available to listen and support, but be there to laugh, joke, and have fun with your friend, too.

  • Encourage your friend to keep a journal about thoughts and feelings. Writing and drawing can help facilitate the healing process.

  • Be an ally. Do you notice suspicious activity from an educator? Report it! Help prevent other incidents from happening. Your voice can help protect others from experiencing abuse.

  • Suggest professional help. Encourage your family member or friend to see a counselor or social worker. A trained professional can help victims of abuse process emotions and thoughts about the situation.

 

If you're in doubt about what you can do for a friend or family member who has been a victim of sexual abuse, please feel free to contact S.E.S.A.M.E and we will provide you with some great resources!

FRIENDS & FAMILY