Domestic Violence

FOR PARTNERS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY OF RAPE & SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS.

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FOR PARTNERS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY OF RAPE & SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS.

 

No one tells a survivor that sometimes being raped can become the focus of her/his life 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. I learned that bringing traumatic memories to mind by talking about them in a trusting relationship, and developing the capacities for managing them while staying present in the moment are all very important parts of the healing process.

In general, Sharing traumatic experiences with a trusted other is an important step towards creating a different experience of relationships, the key word here is trust. 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 the victim of sexual assault/ rape or for their loved ones.

One of the most important ways that survivors could be cared for is by UNDERSTANDING them. They want to feel understood by someone who do not have to ask a lot of questions and who do not require them to speak, especially when they aren’t ready. They want to be understood by someone who makes them feel safe, not threatened, and who understands them using empathy and intuition rather than attempting to understand them through a demanding question and answer format. 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.

Hence, 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 equally 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.

What You Should Know About Rape And Sexual Assault

A comprehensive overview that may be helpful to you in understanding sexual assault and its affect on victims.
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.

Supporting a Survivor of Sexual Assault

Survivor Support Booklet

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Disclosure Booklet

What to Do If Your Child Discloses Sexual Abuse

For Parents: Support Guide for Rape Survivors

A Parent’s Guide to helping a Daughter who has been raped 

 

“When we feel weak, we drop our heads on the shoulders of others. Don’t get mad when someone does that. Be honored. For that person trusted you enough to, even if subtly, ask for help”

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