Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault

File:Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2017 Campaign Poster.jpg
Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento sexual assault lawyer. It’s not an easy thing for survivors to talk about a sexual assault. To complicate things, many people don’t know what to say to a survivor. Here are some tips to help family members and friends be supportive of survivors reporting and recovering from sexual assault.

Acknowledging courage

Survivors often feel ashamed and insecure about reporting sexual assaults– it can take a lot of courage for a person to come forward and name their abuser. It is important to support your loved ones through their recovery process and not to become overly concerned with questions you may have. Acknowleding a survivor can be as simple as saying: “I believe you.”


No one deserves to be sexually assaulted. Survivors of sexual assaults often struggle with feelings of blame. In situations where the perpetrator has a personal relationship with the survivor, it is not uncommon for the survivor to blame themselves. Still, there is no excuse for sexual assault- the survivor is not to blame.

Be There

Sexual assault is often a traumatic experience that can leave a person feeling utterly alone. Letting your friend or family member know that you are there for them and listening to their experience can help that person feel more comfortable. You may not have all the answers, but you can listen. Some helpful resources you can share with survivors can be found with RAINN, WEAVE, and the Sacramento Superior Court.

Continued Support

Watching a survivor’s extended struggle with a past sexual assault can be difficult. Everyone responds to traumatic experiences differently, and it is important not to suggest that a person is “taking too long to recover.” While seeing your friend or family member in such an unhappy state may be stressful for you, it is surely more difficult for the survivor.

Sometimes, all you can do is be there for the survivors of sexual assault. Checking in the with a person you are concerned for can help remind them that you care about their well-being.

More From Sacramento Sexual Assault Lawyer, Ed Smith

Sacramento Sexual Assault Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Sexual Assault Lawyer. I have been helping survivors and their families for over three decades. If you, or a loved one, have been assaulted and need a compassionate injury lawyer, please call me for free and friendly advice. I can be reached at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 and online confidentially and with no obligation.

My past clients have left many insightful reviews about their experiences working with me, available online at AvvoGoogleYelp.

I am honored to be a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum in California. This forum is made up of some of the best US trial lawyers who have earned million-dollar verdicts and settlements for their clients.

Summaries of some of my past verdicts and settlements can be found of my website,

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2017 Campaign Poster by Susan SullivanCC BY-SA 4.0
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