Hope For Healing. Org

"One week after a rape, 98% of victims suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.
The number decreases to 67% one month after a rape, and 43% three months after a rape. After three months, experts say, the symptoms run the risk of becoming chronic if there is not somesort of intervention." quote taken from: Rape Treatment Seeks to Restore Lives

When a friend is raped...
When you find out a friend has been victimized many thoughts will fly through
your mind. You may experience conflicting emotions on needs to be done. You
may feel lonely and overwhelmed - especially at first.
This page is written in an attempt to help you deal with the situation. It's not a
complete list but only one offered as an attempt to help.

First, calm down. Remaining as calm as possible is the best thing you can do for yourself and the victim of the crime.

Safety. Take the necessary steps to get the victim to safety as quickly as you can
without endangering yourself. The best bet is usually to call your local police department.

 Offer assurance. The person victimized will have many concerns.

 He/She may be afraid that you will think less of them.
The victim may be unsure of what to tell others and may be afraid of
how others will react. There may be some nervousness about the physical
examination. (Especially if this is the first time for an internal examination.)
It is possible that they will try to blame themselves for what
happened instead of blaming the attacker who did the harm.
There may be immediate concerns regarding children, child care or
their job, or school.

If any of these come up try to be as reassuring as possible. Let the
person know that you care and that you will continue to do so. Answer
any questions that are asked as truthfully as you can. If you don't
know the answer it's ok to say so. Just be honest with the victim and
with yourself.

 Even if there is no outward sign of injury encourage seeking medical
attention. Some injuries may not be obvious to someone untrained. It
is always best to seek help. The medical evidence will be needed in
case a decision is made to prosecute.

 Encourage the person victimized to talk about it as she/he is comfortable.
It is hard to listen to over and over again but is necessary for healing. On
the flip side of the coin prying for facts may do more harm than good.

Be accepting of the person's desire to prosecute or not to prosecute. This
is a difficult thing to do. Your feelings may not necessarily match those of
the person victimized. Try to respect what their feelings might be. It is a
difficult decision to make. Knowing you will be there no matter what is the
key to moving through the assault.

In a survey taken on our website the number 1 fear of rape survivors was the fear of being disbelieved. Believing what your friend tells you about what happened is extremely important. After all, your friend or loved one has just lived through one of the most horrible things that can happen to a person--and has survived.

Don't judge.  Don't second-guess any actions the survivor made during the attack. Only the person facing the attacker knew what it took to survive. Coming out of the attack alive is the
biggest things that counts.

This is a major life changing event. A survivor will heal or deal with the rape in many different stages with many different feelings. These include:

1. Acute Stage. 

This stage may include crying uncontrollably, being in shock, trying to deny what happened, jumpiness, extreme irritability or it may also include a very controlled reaction. The survivor may smile a lot or make jokes acting as if it were no big deal (denial). The survivor may be extra calm or subdued and appear cold or unfeeling or extremely fearful and with feelings of overwhelming guilt. The survivor may even blame themselves or may try to portray the rape as a betrayal or affair as a form of denial. 

2. Reorganization:

This stage is where the survivor begins to reorganize and deal with the longer term effects of the rape. It may include: therapy, expressing feelings, dealing with grief or loss issues, moving, buying a large dog, changing jobs or otherwise reevaluating life. It is during this time that we begin to move on from what happened and reclaim our lives.

Survivors don't usually go through this process smoothly. There will be times when the survivor will not want you out of her sight and times when the survivor won't want anyone around. Learning all you can is essential. Survivors may move from one stage of recovery to another and back again. 

Most survivors go on to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) It is also called rape-related P.T.S.D. This does not mean the survivor is going crazy. P.T.S.D. is a normal reaction to abnormal events.

In the end, the biggest help to a survivor is knowing you will be there. Having someone to offer support in a nonjudgmental way can be the key to healing. Be supportive and let the survivor lean on you. Don't make any decisions for the survivor but instead offer your support. Let the survivor know that you will "be there" no matter what.

You may need support too. That's ok. Rape Crisis Centers often offer support for friends and family members of those surviving rape. Don't be afraid to contact your local center. If you aren't sure where to find one, the people at RAINNcan help.

Above all else, remember, it is not the victim's fault he/she was attacked. The attack was done to that person because a perpetrator decided to commit a crime. This did not happen because of anything the survivor did or did not do, said or wore. Rape is never the fault of the victim. It is always the fault of the perpetrator.

F.Y. I.
 In most states, there is a criminal compensation fund set up to help with expenses. Your local rape crisis center or victim's advocate will have the information.

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