There are few things in life that can be compared to being a sexual abuse survivor. Whether it happened at the workplace, on a date, or at home, abuse changes you fundamentally as a person. As dark as the days get, there is a bright future ahead through the love, help, and support of others.
No two cases of assault or abuse are the same, and there are many complex things to work through. However, there are a few general guidelines to follow if you want to help. If you know someone who’s been through such a traumatic event and you want to help them, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tips to help your loved ones cope after being abused or assaulted.
Be there for them
The most important thing you can do for someone during or after their abuse is to be there for them. Support is sometimes the only thing that stands between breaking down and building yourself up again. You can support your loved ones by letting them know that you’ll be there for them and showing up. Being assaulted or abused can take a toll on a person’s mental and physical health.
The person might behave differently after suffering such a trauma, and the best you can do for them is to be patient and be there for them. Listening to them, acknowledging, and believing them 100% is the first step. Offer whatever financial help or guidance you can, but most importantly, be there for them when they need you.
Offer legal help
One way to help someone after being abused is to help them report the issue. Cases like these fall under personal injury and need to be handled with care and experience. This sexual abuse lawyer in San Diego is one of many that offers free consultations with a no-fee guarantee to help get the case off the ground. Keep in mind that you cannot force anyone to go to court about their abuse.
Although reporting the issue might bring justice and closure to the person, it can also open up old wounds. Taking things to court can make the person relive the trauma or put them in a difficult or life-threatening position. Some people are not going to be ready to do that, so the most you can do is offer legal help and options, and respect their wishes.
Offer professional help
Another way to help someone work through their trauma is to suggest professional help. As their best friend or close family member, you can offer a lot in terms of support, but there are some things out of your depth. To make sure the person gets the right help, talking to a licensed professional is a good way to go.
There are plenty of specialized therapists who deal with sexual violence, abuse, and assault. If you can, do some research and find someone in your area who can help the person deal with their trauma. Keep in mind that although you may suggest it, the person may not yet be ready to talk about their abuse for some time. Have faith, be present, and remember to respect their wishes, whatever they will be.
Give them space
When it comes to suffering abuse, trauma, or assault, it can be easy to smother the person while trying to help. Although making yourself available is important, it’s also important to remember to give the person in question space. This includes not forcing the person to talk about certain details or things relating to their abuse.
If you see the person pulling away from you or not wanting to share certain information, don’t take it personally. Everyone moves through trauma at their own pace and sometimes they need a breather before they delve into it. When being there for someone who has been abused, don’t forget to check on your own needs and detach yourself from time to time. Remember to be patient with the person and allow them the space they need.
With these guidelines, you’ll be more equipped to deal with and support someone who has experienced sexual abuse. It’s important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach and that each person and case is unique. A good general rule to go by is that your love and support are always appreciated. If you want to offer something more to the person, look into some legal or professional help for them.
Research into qualified and specialized professionals who are more equipped and ready to offer a helping hand. Last but not least, remember to give the person space and to be patient. Working through abuse takes time, but with the right support from loved ones and the right healthy environment, anyone can come back from it.