How to CARE
If you know someone who has been sexually assaulted or physically abused, it's important to know how to steer him or her in the right direction to get help. If a victim was brave enough to tell you their situation, it is always important that you show that you CARE:
- Tell them it's not their fault.
- Tell them they don't deserve it.
- Let them know you believe them.
- Don't spread gossip. It could put them in danger.
- Don't try to make them do anything they don't want to (it won't work unless it's their decision).
- Tell them that they're not crazy, because they're going to feel that way.
- Encourage them to build a wide support system. Go to a support group, talk to friends and family.
- Don't blame them for the abuse or their decision to stay; leaving an abusive relationship is hard and can take a long time.
- See if they need medical attention. They may not realize how badly they're hurt.
Remember: It is never the victim's fault
- A victim's clothing and behavior do not excuse a perpetrator's assault against them.
- Remember it's not what the victim "could have done" or "should have done," but focus on what the perpetrator has done.
If the assault just happened and they decide they want to report it:
- Advise them not to take a shower.
- Go to the emergency room with the same clothes on or preserve clothes.
- Get a Rape Kit performed (SANE) at emergency room.
- Tell the police, community advisor, victim advocates or go to an assault center for women.
Never make promises of confidentiality, but let them know you will only tell people who can help them.