How does one support a survivor of rape? | Forum

Topic location: Forum home » Personal » Rape
LetsHelpIndia May 14 '14, 07:39

When a survivor of rape or sexual assault speaks about the incident, either to her family and friends or to the authorities, she is often asked a barrage of questions or offered unsolicited advice.

These questions can re-traumatize her by instantly reminding her of the assault. They can also be posed in a judgemental manner and make her feel stigmatized. What is most frightening is that they might make her wonder why she spoke about the assault in the first place.

One of the biggest fears that keeps women from fighting a case of sexual assault and seeking justice is the fear of social stigma. Therefore, it is our responsibility as members of the society to ensure that we do not contribute to this stigmatization and instead, work towards empowering survivors.

We can do so by providing some key messages and by avoiding others. Here is our own list of things we feel you can and those around you can avoid saying to a survivor. It is a subjective list and is, by no means, exhaustive.

Some things you can say to a survivor of rape

* It's not your fault.

* Don’t question yourself; you did nothing wrong.

* You are not the reason this happened.

* You are not alone.

* This is not the end of your life.

Some things you should not say to a survivor or rape

* At least you are alive! You're luckier than many others.

* Were you a virgin? What about your family's honour?

* Maybe it wasn’t how you think it was, maybe it wasn't rape.

* When will you get over this?

* You should just forgive and forget.

Some things to know if you are related to a survivor or witness of rape

* Don’t be anxious or scared if the survivor or witness is keeping silent or sharing only a few details about the incident.

* There is a difference between being supportive and being overbearing. Support can be lent silently too.

* Don’t feel guilty if you also feel traumatized or if you cannot outwardly express your pain or support. Your presence itself can make a difference.Don't be afraid if the survivor or witness has flashbacks of the assault. This is natural and you can help them by finding psychological help.

* Feelings of anger and self-doubt are normal for a survivor, a witness or anyone supporting them. Don't hesitate to seek psychological help for yourself if needed.

- In consultation with Shazneen Limjerwala, a trained psychotherapist who holds a PhD from Lancaster University, U.K.

The Forum post is edited by LetsHelpIndia May 14 '14, 07:43
Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta May 23 '14, 05:03
rape victim ke liye to hame sab khuch krna hi but is tarah ke cases ko solve karne se phele is tarah ke cases ko hone se roka kaise jai ye bhi ek important mudda hai ,16 dec ke baad i think maine is tarh ke rape cases aur jada sune,it means hame khuch to aisa sochna aur karna hoga jisse ye cases kam ho.

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