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Supporting a friend

If a friend or family member ever tells you that they have experienced sexual violence or if they are doubting that they consented to any kind of sexual activities, here's some guidelines about what you can do to help and be as supportive as possible:

Spend time with them, listen to them and believe them, let them be in control over what they decide to do (they may not want to report what happened), let them know it was not their fault, understand that they may not want to talk about it, let them know about The Compass Centre and the Rape Crisis Scotland Helpline.

Person thinking

If you think they are in immediate danger call 999.

If you would like to find out about more detailed and practical ways to help, have a look here:

If you know someone who is experiencing or has had some act of sexual violence happen to them (for instance they might be your friend or family member). Then you’d most likely want to support them, and if you’re lost on ideas how to then hopefully these suggestions can help.

  • Always remember to respect their privacy. Don’t get in anything that’s still raw and touchy to them. If you see that they are uncomfortable then definitely change the subject.
  • Give them a bit of time to heal before speaking to them. Maybe wait a few days because it’s really hard for your friend to process all that has happened to them.
  • Instead of calling them a victim try survivor because they are making it through!
  • It’s very common for people that have had something done to their body against their will to feel really uncomfortable in their own skin. Don’t pay attention to their body and complement them! Shower them with body positivity every day ❤️.
  • Remember to check up on them every couple of days. Just send them a text, start a conversation with them. Let them know you’re here for them and that they are important.
  • If you yourself are finding it a hard time supporting someone please contact The Compass Centre! We have support for not just survivors but also for those of you that are impacted by helping their friends and families.

Person sitting thinking

If your friend doesn’t feel comfortable speaking to you or the Compass Centre then suggest some helplines such as:

  • Rape Crisis Scotland helpline 08088 01 03 02 (available from 6pm – midnight, every day, free of charge)
  • Childline 0800 1111
  • Victim support 0333 300 6489 (if they are thinking about or have already reported to the police)
  • The Survivors Trust 0808 801 0818

Remember you are just as important as them. So look after each other, give yourself as much love as you give them.

You are fabulous for doing this!

More information on how to support friends is available on the Rape Crisis Scotland website.

This section was developed by BEE, our youth activist volunteer group. To find out more about BEE and what we do look here.