Listen. Be there. Communicate without judgment.

According to American Psychological Association, Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent. Most victims and perpetrators know each other. Immediate reactions to sexual abuse include shock, fear or disbelief.

Victims may develop depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress (PTSD), personality disruptions, addictions, triggers. But these tips will allow you to be able to help someone who has experienced sexual abuse or trauma.

1.    Listen. Be there. Communicate without judgment.
2.    If the survivor seeks medical attention or plans to report, offer to be there. Your presence can offer the support they need.
3.    Encourage the survivor to get support. Share resources like the National Sexual Assault Hotline, but realize that only they can make the decision to get help.
4.    Be patient. Remember, there is no timetable for recovering from trauma. Avoid putting pressure on them to engage in activities they aren’t ready to do yet.
5.    Encourage them to practice good self-care during this difficult time.

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