How to Support Your Child
You may have difficulty knowing what to say or do to help your loved one; you do not have to have all the answers. There is no perfect reaction to hearing that someone you care about has survived an act of sexual violence, but here are some helpful tips:
- Listen and be patient.
- Assure the child that he or she is not to blame for the abuse.
- Tell the survivor you believe him or her.
- Ensure the child feels safe, and remind them that they are safe now.
- Tell the survivor he or she did the right thing by telling.
- Assure the child that he or she did not deserve the assault/abuse (being out after curfew, going somewhere without permission, etc.)
- Address the survivors concerns and feelings of confusion, shame, fear, betrayal, and guilt.
- Communicate with the child/teen in a way that he or she can understand.
- Try not to force a child to talk about their experiences if they aren’t ready.