Rape

For Partners, Friends And Family Of Rape & Sexual Abuse Survivors

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No one tells survivors that sometimes being raped can become the focus of their lives right after it happens, and even long after that. It’s especially frustrating, because the creator of the trauma moves on very quickly while those who are forced to carry it don’t have the luxury of forgetfulness. Bringing traumatic memories to mind by talking about them in a trusting relationship, and developing the capacities for managing the effects while staying present in the moment are all very important parts of the healing process.

People in relationships with rape survivors are called secondary survivors. Each survivor is different and each situation varies, therefore it would be impossible to suggest the best action for every survivor who has been a victim of sexual assault or their loved ones. One of the most important ways that survivors should be cared for is by UNDERSTANDING them. They want to feel understood by someone who doesn’t have to ask a lot of questions and who doesn’t require them to speak, especially when they aren’t ready to.

They want to be understood by someone who makes them feel safe, and who understands them using empathy and intuition rather than attempting to understand them through a demanding question and answer form of interaction. And then, subsequently, when they do decide to share or speak about the experience, it is very important to them, that they do not only have a listener but they have someone who can FEEL their experience with them.

Therefore, to have any success at all in helping a survivor, there has to be an established relationship that is built on understanding and, most of all, trust. However, in addition to finding ways to support the survivor, it’s very important to maintain your own well-being. It’s important to have the right information on what to expect, and how best to handle whatever challenges might come up. Below are helpful resources for Secondary Survivors.

Articles

The following articles are written specifically for secondary survivors:

Tips for Friends and Family of Survivors

Self-care While Supporting A Survivor

Helping A Partner Heal Sexually

Websites

How To Help A Survivor and  Partners of Survivor

Hope for Healing: Partners of Survivors

A mailing list for the partners of survivors.

Books and booklets

Allies in Healing

A book that shows couples how to deepen compassion, improve communication, and develop an understanding of healing as a shared activity.

When You are A Partner of A Rape of Incest Survivor

A guide to therapeutic directions, to increase understanding.

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