How to Support a Survivor

1. Continue to support the survivor.

Whether they end their relationship or not. A survivor must feel that you are not judging them for them to continue to confide in you. A helpful phrase could be, “You’re not alone. I’m here for you and I’m glad you told me.”

2. Help develop a safety plan.

Brainstorm ways for the survivor to stay safe, whether that means remaining in an unhealthy or violent relationship or leaving the relationship. The safety plan will look different depending on the survivor’s circumstances including whether there are children and pets in the household and whether the survivor has access to financial resources and transportation.

3. Do not criticize the abuser.

It is okay to tell a survivor that the abuser’s behavior is not acceptable or safe, but do not criticize the abuser. A survivor will feel the will need to defend the abuser and it may further isolate the survivor.

4. Let them know it is not their fault.

A survivor might blame herself for the abuse. You can remind the survivor that no one deserves to be abused. Helpful and validating phrases are: “This is not your fault,” or “No one ever has the right to hurt you.”

5. Offer resources and ask what you can do to help.

It is important to remember that the survivor is the expert when it comes to their relationship. They will know when it is safe to leave and what actions are possible.

Do you or someone you know need help?

The mission of the Women's Resource Center is to protect, shelter, and empower people impacted by domestic and sexual violence. We're here 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide individual and group support and emergency shelter.

Call us at 800-554-4972

Nearly 1 in 5 women in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives.
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