Helping a Victim of Rape or Sexual Assault
If your friend tells you that she or he has been the victim or rape or sexual assault, the most important thing to do is to listen and support your friend.
Don't blame him or her for what happened. You might try giving your friend the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-HOPE).
If the rape or sexual assault just happened, try to get your friend to a safe place, and then contact a trusted adult. The victim should not shower or clean up in order to preserve any evidence of the event.
Even if the rape or sexual assault occurred in the past, you should tell a parent or trusted adult about the incident if your friend has not already told someone.
This isn't betraying your friend's trust; telling an adult is often vital to helping a friend get the support and treatment she or he needs following the rape or sexual assault.
Certain situations may put you at a greater risk for rape and/or sexual assault. If you are raped or sexually assaulted in such a situation, it is still not your fault; you didn't make someone victimize you. However, staying out of such dangerous situations can be beneficial.
Many rapes occur when the victim has been drinking, as inhibitions are lowered, and it is often easier to manipulate those who are drunk. Choosing not to drink or choosing to drink only a limited amount can help you avoid unwanted sexual encounters and rape.
Read our Understanding Consent & Consensual Sex article to learn more about alcohol and consent.
If you're at a party, stay with a buddy and leave together; avoid going to private rooms. Additionally, watch your drink, even if it is non-alcoholic, because drugs can be added to make rape easier. Check out our article about date rape drugs for more information.
Above all, in any situation, remember that if sexual assault or rape happens to you or a friend, get to a safe place and call a trusted adult, a sexual assault hotline or 911.
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Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
Fisher BS, Cullen FT, Turner MG. The Sexual Victimization of College Women. Washington (DC): U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice: 2000. Publication No. NCJ 182369
Catalano, Shannan M. Bureau of Justice Statistics: National Crime Victimization Survey. Washington (DC): U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Program 2004. Publication No. NCJ 205455