How can I support a survivor in my life?
Choosing to share your experience of sexualized violence is an individual choice, and for many, it can be an important step in their path towards healing and justice. There is no one right way to heal. Only a survivor can know what is best for them. Often, being publicly vocal does not feel right or safe, and sometimes the most powerful forms of resistance to violence are “small” acts that are deeply personal.
It is important that we support and listen to the many different ways survivors choose to resist, speak out, heal and create justice for the violence committed against them.
If you are wondering how you can help a loved one who is a survivor, here are some suggestions you may find helpful:
- Offer support and listen, making space for whatever feelings are expressed;
- Let them know you believe their experience – say “I believe you”;
- Let them know that whatever they did, or did not do, was to survive the circumstances; Reassure them that it is not their fault;
- Let survivors make their own decisions;
- Remember it is not your job to “rescue” the survivor – honor their resiliency and their knowledge about what is best for them on their healing journey;
- Practice self-awareness: allow yourself to grieve and feel your feelings as well.
For more information, you can check out our page on supporting survivors.
This blog is part of our 4 blog series for Victims and Survivors of Crime Week 2018. Please look out for our advertorial wrap on the Victoria News and Saanich News coming out on June 1st. Funding generously provided by The Department of Justice Canada.