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  • Interpersonal Violence: Helping a Friend

    How can I help someone who has been sexually assaulted?

    When someone has been sexually assaulted, there is a tremendous feeling of vulnerability and loss of control over one's body and very existence. Survivors need to regain a sense of control. Allow the survivor to make her/his own decisions. You may help by offering information and options.

    • Assure the survivor that you believe in her/him. Remind the survivor that the assault was not her/his fault. Do not blame or suggest blame. Do not judge or criticize. Avoid showing strong emotion of any kind.
    • Sometimes survival requires involuntary cooperation. Recognize that whatever choice of action was used to get through the ordeal was obviously effective since the victim survived. Be supportive.
    • Allow the victim space and time to talk or not to talk. It is common for sexual assault survivors to choose to protect those to whom they are close by not sharing details.
    • Much of the survivor's recovery may depend on your reactions and responses. If you are local, Monmouth County, call the 24 hour hotline at 180 Turning Lives Around at 1-888-264-Rape, or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE for support for yourself.

    How can I help someone in an abusive relationship?

    • Talk About It

      - Just knowing that someone cares enough to ask about the abuse can break through the wall of isolation often felt by victims of relationship abuse.
    • Listen Without Judging

      - Often when someone is being abused they believe all the criticisms and negative messages that the abuser says about them. They may feel responsible, ashamed and afraid that you will judge them.
    • Say "It Isn't Your Fault"

      - There is no excuse for physical or emotional abuse - not alcohol, drugs, jealousy, financial difficulties, stress, or any of the victim's actions.
    • Explain That Abuse Tends to Get Worse

      - Domestic Violence recurs and escalates over time and it rarely stops without an intervention.
    • Provide Information

      - Give the person 180 Turning Lives Around’s 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline number, 1-888-843-9262, if they live in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Their hotline is free and confidential. For other areas The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (799-7233) can provide information about domestic violence shelters and programs in your local area.
    • Realize That Ending a Relationship Is a Process

      - The best that you can do is to be patient and supportive.