How Can I Help a Friend Who Was Raped?

How Can I Help a Friend Who Was Raped?

My friend told me that when she was 14 she was raped. She quickly changed the subject. I want to talk to her about it, but I don't want to upset her. What should I do?
- Laurel*

Sometimes friends want us to know stuff that's happened to them so we can understand them better. But even when people share information about themselves, they may not always be ready to talk about it. That's especially true when talking brings up difficult or painful memories.

Your friend may want to talk more about it with you, or she may not. You can simply be honest: Let her know you're willing to listen if she ever wants to talk more about it, but you don't want to upset her by bringing it up. That way, she knows you're open to hearing more and you leave the decision up to her.

You also could ask your friend if she's ever talked to a counselor about what happened. Lots of places have rape crisis hotlines or centers staffed with professionals who are trained to listen and help.

Whether or not you talk more about this together, your friend knows she has someone who's willing to listen and care. And you have a friend who's willing to confide. That means a lot.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: July 2013

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





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Related Resources
Web SiteThe Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network Call: (800) 656-HOPE
OrganizationNational Center for Victims of Crime This organization is devoted to helping victims of crime recover and rebuild their lives. Call: (800) FYI-CALL
Web SiteEscaping Hades This is a site for survivors of rape and sexual abuse. Call: (800) 656-HOPE
Web SiteLove Is Respect This site is the online home of the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, a community where you can find support and information to understand dating abuse.
You can talk one-on-one with a trained advocate 24/7 who can offer support and connect you to resources.
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