Hope For Healing.Org
Partners of survivors go through many of the same feelings as survivors do. Answers and support are needed during this time but is hard to come by. To help partners get the support needed there is an unmoderated discussion list available here:
Paired @ Yahoogroups . com
There is a ripple effect when someone is raped. It affects not only the initial person but partners, family, and friends, sometimes even total strangers can be affected in ways they never imagined.
At first you may want to deny it happened. Phrases like, "Not my wife" or "You're kidding right?" are denial responses. They are natural ways of trying to protect yourself from the thoughts that something so horrible could happen to someone you care about.
You may be shocked, stunned or even angry. If you are angry it is very important for you to realize that no one deserves to be raped. There is no way someone "asks" for this to happen to them. No matter what the situation surrouding the incident it is not the victim's fault. A victim cannot take the blame for the actions another person used against her or him.
At first there will seem like there are many things that have to be done "NOW". The most important things are that the victim get a thorough medical evaluation done to be sure no other injuries occurred, and to make sure the victim is safe from the attacker. After that the victim will need to decide to prosecute. This is a multi-sided issue. The decision may not be easy to make.
If the decision is made to prosecute there will be many questions asked by police officers and detectives. You may want to be with the victim during this time, if it is allowed. Should you be allowed and do want to be present, it will be very important that you not interfere or take offense at any of the questions asked. The police have the job of hunting the attacker down and they need all the information possible.
Some people may try to take on the job of trying to locate the perpetrator themselves. This is unwise. Not only might it place yourself in a dangerous situation, it will worry the victim even more. If you have the need to "do" something the best thing is to support the victim. This will help the person make the transition from being a victim to being a survivor.
There will most likely be some changes taking place in your relationship. This is natural. You may wonder what happened to your thoughts and feelings about what happened or feel as if you must carry the burden of taking care of the survivor on your own.
If this happens, it is important for you to get support for yourself. This may mean turning to a close and trusted friend, seeking a support group from your local rape crisis center or seeing a therapist yourself. This doesn't mean that you are a weak person for falling back on these resources. That is why the resources are out there to begin with.
With work and time much healing can be done. Partnerships can survive anything as long as both partners are committed to each other and to working through this tragedy. Love and comfort one another. If the victim used to enjoy long walks by the park before this tragic attack/event, help them by simply offering to walk with them. Your presence and love eventually will prevail, at the very least make them feel more comfortable. Just the same, if the victim likes art, painting or even just liked to sit and read a good book. Set up a table along with painting supplies or that great new book they wanted. It may help, especially if you are including yourself and getting involved.
The key to understanding and taking care of yourself may lie in finding out all you can about rape and the aftermath of the crime. There are several books in the reading section of this page. You are strongly encouraged to look over the list. If you know of a book that would be good to add please feel free to email the title of the book as well as the author and it will be added to the list. There are some links at the bottom of the page that may be helpful as well.
Here are some links that may prove helpful. If you know of any others please let me know.
Survivors and Friends
Offers support, encouragemnt, information and a voice to Survivors, Friends, and loved ones.
Survivors of Sexual Assault
Partners and Allies of Sexual Abuse Survivors.
This has a variety of information on it as well as ordering information on several books.
Loved Ones of Sexual Abuse
The German word for Allies, this psychology student (and survivor's partner) is creating a survey for other partners to take. If you can help him with his research please click the link above.
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