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How to help someone with a surfacing memory

Discussion in 'Sexual Assault' started by Sidelinesupporter, Dec 6, 2017.

    Someone who I am very close to recently remembered being raped while unconscious due to alcohol twice by someone they completely trusted and knew for years. They remembered this around a week ago, but the rape itself occurred approximately 5 years ago. They're going to get professional help, which is fantastic, but I need some advice on how to help them. I haven't decided on how much I am comfortable with sharing, as this is not my story to share, but I really need some advice. I have suffered abuse myself, but nothing sexual, so I cannot come from a place of complete understanding. If anyone who has experienced such abuse could please offer words of wisdom, I would be so grateful.
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  2. BookerNoe

    BookerNoe Active Member

    You're a good friend for reaching out preemptively to be able to help in the best way possible. Here's what I would say based on my own experience as a person who's had a large sexual trauma resurface:

    Your friend probably feels like the world is falling out from underneath them. Getting professional help is huge, but helping them create a network of support people will help more than either of you will ever know. I would say right now that just listening is the most important thing you can do. Don't ask them questions, that only makes things feel more pressurized for them. If they want to share, great. If they don't, just be willing to sit in the silence with them whenever you can. Being in that moment with someone is difficult but it makes a huge impact to know that they're not being rejected. Good luck to both of you.
  3. Sidelinesupporter

    Sidelinesupporter New Member

    Thanks very much for the response. They definitely have a network of supportive loved ones, and I am a professional listener (at least I like to think I am). Right now it seems like they want to share, but in bursts, so when it comes, I offer everything I can in both silence and words of comfort. We're both pretty open, so they tell me if I am doing alright in how I am handling the situation. I am sure they will heal, though not completely, but it will take a long time (as I am sure you know) and I am definitely prepared to remain supportive throughout. Thank you again for the helpful advice.
  4. Xena

    Xena Active Member

    Hi @Sidelinesupporter... It is very important to listen... Not judge..... And believe her....

    That's about all you can do.... Support her as much as you are able... She will be going through a ton of emotions... Anger, rage, fear, scared, hopeless, blame, shame, why me,... Its hard to watch but your a good friend for wanting to help. If you are able read up on how to support someone who has been attacked,.
    I'm glad she has a friend who is wanting to help.... Take care
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