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Helping a Survivor of Sexual Assualt


I don't know if there's already something on this platform like this but ngl there's a scary lack of acknowledgment for sexual violence.

Sexual violence is more than just a "women's problem." Men, both gay and straight, can become victims of sexual violence. It can happen to anyone. Rape is mostly a crime that's committed against women by men and the threat of it can create mistrust and become a barrier for the formation of healthy relationships between men and women. Sexual assault affects us all, even people that aren't survivors.

I expect people to respond to this post and get angry saying that "not all men are rapists" which is so obvious!! Most men are definitely NOT rapists. It's the PEOPLE who are rapists, not just male offenders.

During sex, consent can be revoked at any time. There is never any scenario where anyone ever "owes" anyone sexual favors. People who don't come forward about sexual assault aren't "wusses", they're afraid of the rejection that they most often do face when they come forward. They're afraid of being blamed for something so vile that only their rapist can be blamed for. Sexual assault false accusations are RARE, and it's wrong to assume everyone who makes an accusation is a liar. The clothing someone wears doesn't mean they want sex and definitely doesn't mean they owe you sex.

Sexual assault isn't something to brush under the rug. It's a serious crime with incredibly harmful consequences. There is never any excuse for sexual assault.

Helping a Survivor of Sexual Assualt

When a friend comes to you and tells you that they've been sexually assaulted, it can be hard to know what to say or how to respond. It takes a lot of courage for a survivor to share their story with someone. Though sometimes when someone confides in us, we're stalled and don't how to help. It doesn't require an expert to support a survivor.

The DON'Ts

When a survivor trusts you enough to help and support them, it's important that you make sure to help them rather than cause harm or additional stress. To be on the safe side, here are the absolute DO NOTS for survivor support.

Pressure them into doing things. While it's great to help and support your friend, it's important that they're not pressured into doing anything they're not comfortable with. Additionally, sexual assault strips the power from a survivor and makes them feel as though they're not allowed to decide for themselves. It's important that you allow them to make the decisions for themselves so they can regain power.

Ask them "Why?" or make them share details. It's important to keep an open mind when, if they do, share their story with you. It's common for survivors to leave details out or repeat themselves; it's tough to revisit. Pressuring them into sharing additional details might make them feel like they're being forced to share quite possibly, painful, details. Asking them why will seem as though they're being blamed for what happened. Whether it be asking them why they wore what they wore or why they had a drink.

Murmur or say nothing. Not knowing what to say is completely fine; it can be shocking to know what happened to your friend. But, they need support and it could make them worry about what you think.

If you don't know what to say try something similar that offers more:

"I don't know what to say at the moment. I cannot begin to understand how you feel. But, I'm here for you and want to help you. If there's anything I can do to support you, please ask."

Some DON'T Phrases:

"I can' believe that."
"They[Perpetrator] seemed so nice, I don't believe they could do such a thing!"
"Did you try to stop them?"
"Why are you only coming forward now?"
"Why didn't you go to the police?"
The Don'ts

The Do's

​So, we've covered what you shouldn't do to support a survivor but what about what you should do?

Tell them you believe them and support them. One of the biggest fears many survivors have is the fear of being rejected, blamed, or people not believing their stories. Telling your friend that you believe them and they can rely on you as an ongoing source of support will help them tremendously.

Ask what you can do to support them. When a survivor is sexually assaulted, their power is stripped from them and their right to choose is suddenly gone. Allowing your friend to decide what's next is important for not only recovery but also for allowing them to know that they have power in their own life. Additionally, allowing them to decide things at their own pace helps them be more comfortable without added stress.

DO encourage them to seek medical attention if it was recent. You shouldn't pressure your friend into getting any treatments or counseling but, you should encourage your friend to seek medical attention. ER doctors can do what's commonly called rape kits to test for physical damage, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy possibilities. Additionally, if they do choose to press charges in the future, the case is typically stronger if they have physical evidence.

Keep an open mind and let them choose the pace. If a survivor does choose to share their story with you, it's important to keep an open mind and remind them that you'll support them. It's common for survivors to revisit moments while telling their story or skip around. Let them share at their own speed. There is no "perfect victim" and it's essential that you understand that many victims don't immediately recover, it takes time; some longer than others.

Be a source of support even after they begin to recover. Sexual assault can take a large psychological toll on survivors. Many of them carry trauma and some suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD). It's important to remind a survivor that you'll be there for them even after their bruises fade. Once they begin to recover, if they're too exhausted to look into counseling, you could kindly offer to look into trauma-specialized therapists.

Take care of yourself. While it might sound odd to say that you should take care of yourself, it's very important that you do so. Taking care of a friend or even just being an additional source of support can take an emotional toll on some allies. Sometimes, it reminds caretakers of past trauma or can cause a sort of secondary trauma from helping a friend. Don't neglect yourself!

Educate Yourself. It's never the responsibility of a survivor to educate you on how you can be helpful and it'd be a good idea to know the possible impact sexual assault can have on survivors. Informing yourself on sexual assault effects can help you improve as a support beacon.

RAINN(Rape Abuse and Incest National Network) has many resources you can read and also a section on post-abuse recovery.
Understanding trauma triggers and how some survivors disassociate.
Avoidance of touching or sexual interactions. It's common for survivors to feel uncomfortable with either touch or sexual interactions. Not wanting to revisit specific actions or sex altogether.
The Joyful Heart Foundation also has many resources on the effects of sexual abuse. joyfulheartfoundation.org/learn
Knowing your Resources. It's important to know the resources you have, both locally and nationally. You can find more resources on our crisis support page.

Helpful Phrases:

"I believe you."
"What happened isn't your fault."
"The only person to blame is __(the person who did this)."
"What happened was consensual, it was abuse."
"It doesn't matter if you did or didn't ___. It's not your fault."
"Choosing to ___ doesn't mean you chose this."
"Don't feel pressured into reporting. No matter what you do, I'll be here for you. Okay?"


P.S. Denim Day 2022 is on April 29! If you don't know what Denim Day is, it's a campaign to raise awareness about sexual assault. denimdayinfo.org

P.P.S. I can already see the comments I'm gonna get about being a "raging feminist" or something else 🥱😒

Helping a Survivor of Sexual Assualt
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  • Aerissa_Jade
    Thank you for the excellent well done Mytake. As a rape victim myself, I often volunteer in the city at the rape crisis center. To try and help as best I can, sometimes even for human trafficking victims, who don't realize they've been conditioned to think they aren't victims.

    denimdayinfo.org says its the 27th, you posted the 29th but I find references to both of them, I'll just wear it all week, in support.
    LikeHelpfulDisagree 4 People
    Is this still revelant?
    • Oh! Darn, well I'll know for next year. (As you are, we can just pretend it's the whole week!)

    • I am so sorry about that. Nobody has the right to have rape and/or sodomise another human being thanks for all your work volunteering I hope piece of shit rapist is spending the rest of his life behind bars

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • LogicBomber
    1st point of misinformation: “Rape is mostly a crime that's committed against women by men”

    This is NOT true. Rape against men by women is simply not considered rape by society and therefore not calculated in statistics.
    Sexual assault including Rape over all is around 1/1000 people as per the bureau of justice statistics. The gold star in crime statistics.Helping a Survivor of Sexual AssualtWhich includes the “90%” stated to “not come forward” but does NOT account for the 99.9% of men who do not come forward nor does it remove the 40% of female accusations which turn out to be false. ( your second misinformation)Helping a Survivor of Sexual AssualtNext, it’s the bullshit victim propaganda that creates a barrier for the formation of healthy relationships between men and women. Not the actual crime.

    The don’t tell her what to wear, tell rapist not to rape concept is an entitled idiotic mind set. Telling BAD people to not be bad people because you feel entitled to expose yourself is like leaving a wad of cash on your dash and leaving your window open. yeah, you have every right to do that but if you magically expect bad people to not be bad people, don’t be surprised when you have no money. That is logic.

    The “believe them” without question is also a stupid ass concept. Imagine putting someone on death row because a person simply said “they killed a person”, and without question you believe them... that is asinine.
    You assume they are innocent until PROVEN guilty!
    You ask questions and determine the actual crime and how it occurred. Since idiot feminist have now made it so “regret”, “feeling obligated”, and female drunken choices are considered rape... discovering if an actual crime happened is important.Helping a Survivor of Sexual AssualtRAINN is a shit feminist man hating organization. They push the same bullshit Mary Koss 1/4 statistic as all other feminist organizations push.

    The best way to stop sexual assault is to stop pushing bullshit fear mongering and teach people how to protect themselves from bad people doing bad things, and NOT magically expect that bad people will give a shit about your believe that they should not be bad people.Helping a Survivor of Sexual Assualt
    LikeHelpful 4 People
    • Omg, this whole comment is just totally bogus.

    • Yet it posts actual screen shots of data proving it. This is why feminist spread bullshit and idiots believe it. You fu*kers won’t listen to facts.

    • Would you mind sending me the studies? Screenshots are nice but it's a snippet of something and completely disregards the rest of the source.

    • Show All
  • anylolone
    Yeah, I disagree pretty much with all of these.

    In one fairly traumatic incident my therapist said "this wouldn't have happened if you weren't such a push over and kept better company."
    She was fucking right, so much I tried removing myself from the situation and only didn't because of peer pressure.

    And then I was a pushover attention whore and it happened again, so I corrected that.
    I like being warm and allowing people space, specially because I love entertaining people, so it's hard to know what kind of distance to keep, but one thing is for sure, I'm not doing body shots ever again.

    That actually helps, believe it or not. Next aim is not drinking so much, and trying not to never pass out at parties, I'm too old for that.

    Trauma is your brain trying it's best to teach you about something very important.
    It's either unwarranted, which means you need to learn it's not a big deal if you know how to handle it, or it's a huge deal and you need to learn how to guard against it.

    But I don't disagree one shouldn't push too hard, but walking on eggshells around victims only serves to isolate them.
    It's sorta akin to "exposure therapy", except it's kinda the opposite, instead of being exposed to what's out, one has to deal with what's in.
    Disagree 2 People
    • I certainly didn't mean to tiptoe around the victim. I apologize if it wasn't properly worded. What I meant was that you should allow them to set the pace of their recovery without dominating their decisions. But you should treat them like your friend, not an alien.

    • anylolone

      Yeah, it's quite pointless to be paternalistic in any way.
      Be it being harsh or soft.

  • msc545
    Passing yourself off as an expert on rape or sexual assault and then lecturing people on GaG is really a cheap trick at best and quite reprehensible. Being a victim or I think in your case a want to be victim does not make you an expert at anything other than annoying people.
    Like 1 Person
    • So you work in healthcare as do I what would your advice for victims be? Actual victims I mean not people making false accusations. My advice as a registered nurse would be for them to seek medical attention and to get emergency contraception or HIV prevention if a condom hasn’t been used. I would also encourage them to get counseling as well. It would totally be up to them if they wanted to go the legal route which should be handled by one law enforcement and the court system of course.

    • For a topic as sensitive as sexual violence, you feel that you can freely throw around terms like "wannabe victim".

    • Also on top of that, I'm as you said, not a medical professional with experiencce, but you know nothing about me. I'm currently on a bs/md program and have always been passionate about topics surrounding sexual violence awareness. So sure, I'm not a trained medical professional but hoping that I soon will be. This wasn't at all intended to be a lecture (?), and rather just an awareness post.

    • Show All
  • lightbulb27
    yes, it's about power over the other and it's sickness of the assaulter.

    there is fraud in this domain as well which makes it tricky, mental illness is an issue and drugs are huge problem (alcohol especially). but I'd err on side of support and qualified help. Especially true of someone who seems trapped (trafficked).

    "Clothing" - I agree, but as well, one has to recognize that what the wearer feels and what others think is different. I can't just do what I want. leaving my car door unlocked should be ok, but it isn't smart. there are people that don't honor my stuff, or my space. that's reality. Be prepared, be wise. Always have your wits about you, thus, no drugs.
    HelpfulDisagree 2 People
    • Totally!! I think with clothing, it's not like someone is going out nude. If someone is wearing a dress, or a crop top, that definitely doesn't mean they want to have sex with you. For all you know, they're in a relationship 💀

    • I agree with that. There's always a flip side though.."the draw" is visual, the drive hormonal, and the problem emotional. I think #1 is confidence and strength to counter that. Sex abuse is a power play... doesn't happen unless the one feels stronger. Isn't necessarily what someone is wearing, but that can be a trigger. I was victim of sex abuse, I know of many others, a 70yr old woman by a teen, girl by father. Problem is males having strong father/mother figures with consequences and thats worse than ever. Thus, I'd be more vigilant than ever. That means, Id be aware that you are dangling a carrot so to speak based upon how you present yourself. You could write a whole section on the hazards of internet/ticktock/etc.. for young kids related to this, sex abuse happens not just in person but online and psychological damage can cast a kid in a bad direction. It's a hazardous world of corrupt humans. Only takes "one spoiled apple" to ruin the pot as the saying goes. We got more than one.

  • 888theGreat
    Once sex is underway , and he is about to cum , there is no stopping that. He can't stop , so when she said yes 10 minutes earlier , it is still yes. No buyers remorse.
    LikeDisagree 3 People
    • If someone says “hey can you get off of me, I want to stop” and the person continues, you’re saying that it’s perfectly okay for them not to respect their wishes because they said yes 10 minutes earlier?

    • @JustinTheGreat Consent can be revoked at any time. If someone no longer feels up for something, they have the right to revoke their consent. That's why with certain sexual activities safewords exist.

    • @Femphile_xoxo I don't think you understand.

      Put some mentos in a 2 liter coke your friend is holding, and don't put the cap back on, then just tell your friend to not let the coke bottle spew mentos infused soda everywhere.

      See how well that works, or rather doesn't.

      Even if someone says no, and the guy us like "ok, i agree lets stop", he can't physically hault himself during climax, men do not have that much power over their penis muscles or testicles, it is more or less a form of convulsion.

    • Show All
  • Anpu23
    Good article thank you! A couple of points:
    1 "Rape is mostly a crime that's committed against women by men" PMC sexual abuse survey says that if you include rape by envelopment or forced to penetrate men and women rape and are raped at roughly the same rate.
    2. The idea that it was all the rapists fault, though often well meaning is also disempowering. If you didn't do anything wrong you have no ability to prevent it from happening again.
  • bowenw
    Thank you for sharing this comprehensive MyTake. It is very well written and informative.
    Like 1 Person
  • admles
    Male survivor of sexual assault here. Was not believed, was mocked instead. Still carry trauma over it 20 years later.
    Like 1 Person
    • I'm sorry to hear that you went through such an experience. No one should ever be mocked for being a survivor.
      🫂I hope that within those 20 years you were able to find some form of support or closure. I believe you!

  • Whatever2929292
    Nobody is entitled to have sex with anyone if people would be taught that they are o never and whoever does or tries should be locked away and never see the light of day again
  • DWornock
    It is greatly exaggerated. There are far more important things that should take priority such as shoplifting and other theft, home break ins, robberies and murders. At least 95% of sexual assaults can be avoided by taking reasonable precautions such as not being alone with men you are well acquainted with. Taking reasonable precautions seldom applies to the other mentioned crimes.
    • It's never a victim's fault for being sexually assaulted. Additionally, they are incredibly important to address because they're some of the most intimate crimes.

    • DWornock

      It is not a matter of being at fault. Instead it is being stupid. Almost all sexual assaults are the result of risky behavior. If some guy wants to show off and flashes a lot of money in some bar in a rough part of town. You can say it is not his fault when someone robs him. However, he was being stupid. If a white girl wearing skimpy clothes, walks around late at night in n! gg3r town, maybe it is not her fault when she is sexually assaulted, but certainly she was being stupid.

    • You say it's not a matter of fault and then proceed to victim blame. Also, I don't know where you got that from? Most sexual assaults are acquaintance rape, meaning someone the victim knows. In those scenarios it's incredibly hard to say no. In the case of substance-faciliated rape, people CANNOT consent to sexual activities.

      And ofc you're someone who blames it on what someone wears.

      Here's the thing, most people aren't rapists! When most people see an attractive person, they don't automatically think, wow I want to force myself onto that person.

      But whatever dude, say it's not about fault. Then victim blame.

    • Show All
  • CasaNorba
    if you think all men are rapist then why dont you go take some martial arts classes. they teach you everything about self defense instead of wasting your time bitching about your imaginary problems on the internet
  • Debris1
    In a way, I can see how you can say that DWornock is blaming the victim. However, it seems to me that he was only pointing out that women shouldn't be be stupid. I know that is not your intent, but it almost seems that you are increasing the number of sexual assaults and encouraging women to engage in risky behavior because if that results in them being raped, it is not their fault. However, instead of, after the fact, saying it is not their fault, let's reduce sexual assaults by teaching young women how to avoid risky behavior. At the same time, we should continue teaching men that women have the right to say, "No" andor to withdraw their consent at any point.
  • Jltakk
    Ironically, there's a FRIGHTENING lack of knowledge on sexual violence towards men, as shown by OP.
    Like 4 People
    • Subarugirl

      "Sexual violence is more than just a "women's problem." Men, both gay and straight, can become victims of sexual violence. It can happen to anyone."

    • @Jltakk - I guess one of the first lines was far too complex for you to comprehend, huh?

  • DaveJord
    Actually I agree with you, violence among same sex couples is just as high or higher in some cases as that of heterosexuals couples. Studies have shown that Lesbian couples have higher rates of violence then heterosexuals. Where as in heterosexual couples there have very similar rates of physical abuse, but its primarily the males that act out physically. But women in heterosexual relationship tend to be more passive aggressive in their form of abuses and avoid physical confrontation over mental and emotional forms of abuse.

    So I completely agree that this is not just a man problem, and that women are just as abusive if not more so in many cases.

    Fact Sheet: Lesbian Partner Violence (musc. edu)
  • KrakenAttackin
    Or, wakeup the next morning and "remember" you have a husband/boyfriend and say you were raped.
    LikeDisagree 4 People
  • TheSpaceGnome
    I've been a victim of it before, but that was ages ago.

    Initially, it was terrifying, but once I learned there werent any stds, I wasn't traumatized anymore, because thats how I am with any trauma (if the risk/problem ceases, so does me thinking about it/dwelling on it/having mental anguish over it).

    So I can't relate to the people who get long term mentally effected by trauma in general, and I honestly find your description of sexual assault survivor's pretty demeaning and inaccurate for me and most people I've met.

    I've never felt stripped of power or the ability to make choices after the event. I've never felt like I needed therapy are some sort of helping hand, I just felt like I dodged a bullet, and went on as normal, as if it never happened.

    A large part of my life was filled with all sorts of trauma and struggle, some irritating, some scary af, and some exciting, but if I let every unpleasent event get to me long term. I'd die from a stress.
    Helpful 1 Person
  • Aiko_E_Lara
    Isn't this exactly why laws for sexual "assualt" (check your typo) existed in the first place? Even for petty reasons, you can get someone arrested or even accuse someone innocent with very little risks. The justice system is already doing their best and even can be unfair to those innocent accused. It's more like you're wanting more despite how much society do their best to prevent crimes like that. You can say "not every perpetrators get jailed" but I can also say not every claims are true. Which is also giving innocent accused victims a hard time.
    Like 2 People
  • Twalli
    My sister sure as hell knew why her most recent rapists raped her. Granted, it wasn't one of the more violent rapes.
  • maverick2022
    I would like to add that men have a higher rape rate in the US if you include prison population. Also I don't think false accusations are exactly rare, as every guy knows someone that had a girl make up a false accusation against him or at the very least exaggerated a story. Trust me, after it happens enough you start to question every female assault story. We need to make sure women are as accurate as possible when reporting things, not exaggerating, leaving out important details, or making stuff up.
    • False accusation of sexual assault or sexual harassment? Cause they're not the same thing :)

      Also, sexual assault victims are left traumatized, stripped of power, and scared after the assault. Quite a lot of them keep quiet about their stories. And when they do come forward, they often leave certain details out or repeat themselves. In other words, you're treating a scared person whose dignity was stripped from them like a shopowner who got robbed. It's not the same thing.

    • Both, it's more a credibility issue. Men and women both lie so I'm not sure there's any way to fix that issue. For every girl that keeps quiet about her story, there's another one that lies or exaggerates her story for attention. I don't know why females do that but I've caught a few doing it and heard some stories as well.

    • According to the FBI, between 1.5% and 8% of rape accusations were later found to be false. Some of the main drivers behind false accusations are mental illness or sure, attention. But they're RARE.
      As I said in the post, false rape accusations are rare. It's unfortunate but the ones that are false are, like you're currently doing, used to make it seem like most women are lying about their stories. 😒

    • Show All
  • Staximus
    There's a reason they used to hang rapists, and they should start hanging them again.
    Disagree 1 Person
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