Helping a friend who has been abused

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-18-2013
Helping a friend who has been abused
Thu, 04-11-2013 - 12:04pm

How do you help a friend who has been the victim of sexual assault? Without going into details, I have a friend who was sexually assaulted on a date by a man she thought was a friend. I think she should press charges but she won't. She says she has learned from her mistake and just wants to forget about it. Is there anything I can do?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2008
Thu, 04-11-2013 - 3:57pm

Everyone handles their experiences differently and it can be difficult to want someone to do something that you think they should do when they don't want to.  

As  a friend all that you can really do right now is try to support the decisions she makes as long as she is being safe with herself. 

Personally, I was raped by my boyfriend and I didn't go to the cops or the hospital.  Eventually I talked to the police but there was no evidence and no charges brought forward. The only reason I went to the police in the first place was because I was trying to get a restraining order and the victim advocate referred me to the special investigations unit when she found out that I had been raped.

I don't think there is anything you can do to change her mind, if her mind is made up.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2010
Mon, 04-15-2013 - 9:30am

Hi Mary,

I am so very sorry to hear about what happened to your friend. You can help her by just listening and being supportive of her decision. I often come across as harsh with my thoughts, so I'll try to say this as gently as possible. Until you have been in her shoes you can't begin to imagine the horror, humiliation, and self-blame she is probably dealing with. I wish her much luck in just forgetting it ever happened because in my experience that is a very difficult thing to do.