Helpful Attitudes

It can be difficult for a sexual assault victim to talk about it. "Will they believe me?" "To whom should I speak?" "What will happen if I talk?"

There are many reasons to keep silent: myths and prejudices, fear of retaliation by the assailant, the feeling of being the only one in this situation, confused feelings toward the assailant, fear of the judicial process, fear of disturbing the lives of family and friends, and the feeling of being responsible for the event.

Helping a sexual assault victim is not easy. The person listening must be cautious of reactions, both her own and those of the victim, before delivering an opinion or initiating action.

Following are some suggestions:

  1. Listen attentively
  2. Believe the person
  3. Do not judge
  4. Do not ask biased questions
  5. Let the person say it in her own words
  6. Be attentive to the person's emotions and respect her pace
  7. Avoid strong reactions and control your emotions
  8. Put the blame on the assailant
  9. Check if the person is in any danger or if she has suicidal ideas
  10. Make sure that the person has a support network (family, friends)
  11. Check the available resources in the region and send her to them if needed
  12. If needed, go and get help


To learn more on how to help a sexual assault victim, go to:
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