Being a support person is an important role.
Talking to someone who they trust, who believes them, and who can help them sort through their emotions, reactions, and options is a key element of a victim's/survivor’s healing process.
Non-judgmental compassionate responses from support people can also help lessen the impacts of a victim’s/survivor’s trauma.
It is crucial for the person to know that they are not alone, and having people they can share with (including others who have survived sexual violence) helps to do just that.
It is important to remember that the victim/survivor is not broken and does not need to be fixed. Your role as a support person is to work alongside the victim/survivor during their healing process.
It is also important to listen to your own needs and take care of yourself, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Part of that is setting, and maintaining, personal boundaries.
Different people in the victim's/survivor’s life can play different supportive roles. It can be helpful when support is available from a number of sources.
You may want to gently encourage the person you are supporting to expand their circles of support. You can help them brainstorm other trusted people in their life that they think would be supportive such as other friends/family, a Mi’kmaq Elder or help them find a counsellor and/or support group.
See Enhancing the Well-being of Support People for more information about self-care.
Think of a time when you needed help. What were ways people supported you that you found helpful? Add your thoughts to your notes using the button.
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