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Friends & Family

After a sexual assault, it is often difficult for affected women and girls to get support from friends or relatives. Their social circle also often overwhelmed by the situation and uncertain as to what response is “the right thing” to do toward the victim. The response of close relatives plays a central role in the processing of traumatic experiences.

What can you do to support affected women and girls in their environment?
  • Offer your help, but do not force yourself on the person.

  • Take the victim seriously and show understanding - asking questions and blaming (“Why did you have to go to that party too?”) will only do harm.

  • Encourage the person affected to seek counseling at a specialized counseling center.

Sexual violence is a serious violation of mental and physical integrity and is often a traumatic life experience. One of the most lasting experiences is that of not being able to control or prevent what has happened. If caregivers act against the will of the victims - even if it is with good intentions - the feeling of helplessness and loss of control is repeated for the women/girls.

  • Even if you mean well: Do not do anything without the person's consent.

  • Also respect if the woman/girl does not want to talk about what she has experienced or her feelings.

  • Don't pressure them to take a certain action (press charges, etc.).

  • Accept their decisions, even if you disagree.

Support of people close to the victim is essential:
  • Know your own limits and level of resilience. Don't overextend yourself.

  • “Give up control!” Your daughter, friend, student is in good hands at a specialized counseling center.

  • You are also welcome to make an appointment at our counseling center.

  • Detailed information is available in the brochure "By your side. Information and help for supporters, friends and relatives of victims of sexual violence,” which you can obtain from our counseling center or order here.

​The flyer explicitly addresses support persons of victims of sexual violence. Initial information and guidelines for action are intended to encourage people to stand by the side of those affected, to help reduce uncertainties in their support, and to pave the way to the professional support system. The flyer provides information on the following topics: What is sexual violence? What consequences can the experience of sexual violence have for the affected woman*? What can a supporter do? What does the law say and how can I find a professional counseling center nearby?

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