Family and friends who care about you often want to assist you after experiencing sexual violence. You may wish to share this information with them to help them during this process.

There are ways to communicate with someone in your life who has experienced sexual violence that can be healing for her or him—and for you.


Someone affected by sexual assault needs to know that their friends and family believe them.


Some survivors will want to talk about their experiences, and some will not. Be sure not to share the survivor's information with others unless given permission.

Validate Feelings

Acknowledge the survivor's sadness, anger, fear, or confusion. Let them know that these feelings are normal.

Support the Healing Process

Healing takes time. Assure the survivor that this experience will cause some disruption in their life, but they can heal. Do talk about other aspects of their life; help them realize that they are not only a survivor, but also an important part of your life. Encourage the survivor to seek help at IUP's Counseling Center, in the Center for Health and Well-Being.

Find Support for Yourself

Talk to someone about your feelings. Remember you're an important person in the survivor's life. Call the IUP Counseling Center, or your local crisis hotline, for support for you.

If you have questions or would like to speak to someone about how to help a survivor, contact the Haven Project at 724-357-3947 or the Counseling Center at 724-357-2621.

You may also contact your local crisis hotline:

Last updated on November 5, 2020