It is often difficult for a survivor to disclose any part of their experience with others. If someone comes to you for support, start by believing them.
Below are some phrases you can use to validate those who have been affected by domestic or sexual violence:
- “I believe you.” The most important thing to do when supporting a survivor is validate their experience. Let them know you believe them.
- “It wasn’t your fault.” It is essential that a survivor understand they are not responsible for their assault or abuse. Be a supportive voice and remind them that they are not to blame.
- “I’m sorry this happened to you.” Mindful language is key: let survivors know that what happened was unacceptable, and that you take their experience and feelings seriously.
- “Can I help?” Let survivors know you are there to support them without being forceful. This allows survivors power of choice on whether to seek out your help.
- “What do you need most right now?” Give the survivor space to decide what comes next; there is no single right or wrong way for a survivor to respond to an assault or abuse.
Let the survivor know that they can contact us for help by calling our 24-Hour Hotline at 262.542.3828.