What to do to help:

It is not easy to help someone who has been sexually assaulted. A person who receives this kind of information should be aware of their own reactions and those of the victim, before passing judgment or acting. The 12 helping attitudes to better help the victim. Here is what you can do. But don’t forget to respect your limits and go out and seek support for yourself.

Believe what the person says. It is important to tell the person that you believe them. Often, you are the first person they talk to about it. At this stage, the fear of not being believed is very strong. It is not for us to judge whether what the person is saying is true.

The victim is not responsible It is essential to reassure the person that they are not responsible for the sexual violence they have suffered. The only person responsible for a sexual assault is the person who commits it.
Allow them to express their emotions. The ability to express feelings without being judged is often seen as a liberation for the victim of sexual violence.

Validate what they feel. Reassure the person by telling them that it is normal, after what they have been through, for them to feel uncomfortable, a little lost and that they do not know what to do or what they want. It is often a consequence of the trauma. Later, with help, they will regain their balance.

Inform them of your availability and refer them if necessary.  Let the person know about the help you can give them while making them aware of your own limits; check if other people around them can support them. Inform them of professional and community support resources in the area. Respect your choices. The person may decide to go to community workers to seek help. They will have to make important decisions such as filing a criminal, civil complaint or to a professional order. You can help them identify resources, but their choice of action remains theirs. The best way to help is to search for relevant information with them.