In my experience everyone
Community Leader - Sexual Abuse Healing
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I'm trying to think what things I'd want someone to say to me if I revealed such information to them. You didn't mention if she's in therapy and ever told anyone so I don't know where she is in all this so some of this may or may not apply to her.
*It's not her fault. No matter how many excuses she thinks she has in her head as to what she did to "deserve" this, it's still not her fault. She was the child; he was the adult. She is completely without fault regardless of circumstances.
*If she's not in therapy, I'd encourage her to find a good therapist who specializes in helping survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Have her start with her family doctor and go from there.
*Let her know how much you care about her, that you won't abandon her, that you will be there to listen.
*Listening to the details, is she wants to tell, can be hard on a non-therapist. You have to know what you can listen to and what you can't. If it's too upsetting for you to hear details, take care of yourself, tell her you know she needs to talk about it, and you'll help and support her in finding a good therapist. Knowing your own limits going into this would be good.
*If this is the first time she's told someone, she may not be saying much or telling many details. You can gently ask her if she needs to talk about it today, even if she doesn't bring it up, as she may be fearful to be bothering you with it.
*Believe her, believe her, believe her. Don't doubt her for a second.
*She could probably use a little pampering. Perhaps a basket of various teas, or her favorite flowers, or warm fuzzy socks, or bake her some cookies, or just little things to let her know you care and help her to feel better.
*Know that she won't "get over" this any time soon. It may be something she'll want to discuss off and on for the next 2 years. Try to be patient and understanding.
*When I first remembered and told someone, I was convinced everyone could tell what a horrible person I was just by looking at me. I couldn't leave my house or even open the curtains. I had no one there to support me and I was really alone. Let her know she's not alone. Encourage her to go to a movie or to lunch or something to get her mind off it.
*Be her friend. Just be there for her when you can.
*Encourage her to buy a few books on the subject if she wants to know more and hear that she's not alone. In the beginning I read every book on SA I could find as I wanted information.
*Tell her about our board.
*There are support groups in some areas.
*Watch for signs of depression and encourage her to see her doctor if necessary.
Just by being there and being her friend will help her greatly. But know that you can't fix this for her. No one can fix what happened years ago. Don't get so involved that it takes away from the quality of your life. Be her friend and listen when you can, but be honest if you need a break from it. You sound like a great friend to have so just go on being a friend and let it come from your heart. You're very kind to want to help.
Thank you all for your thoughtful responses.
A "generalist" isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Thank you for the reply.
Thoughts play a big role.
I am a huge advocate of therapy (for just about everyone), but it will only work if she is ready.