When Your Friend Cries "Help!": How to Assist a Victim of Sexual Assault

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Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. In 2002 alone, there were 247,730 victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault.

With the striking number of sexual assaults each year, what can be done to comfort and encourage a friend who has experienced the trauma of such an assault?

“Survivors look to those closest to them for support, encouragement, and advice,” says Cassandra Juarez, author of “A Journey Through the Penumbra: Out Of Rape's Shadow” (Cassandra Juarez, $12.95, http://www.cjuarez.com). “However, family and friends of survivors are often confused about the role they should play during a survivor’s healing process.”

A licensed professional counselor, Juarez has helped many clients who have a history of sexual assault and/or abuse. Moved by the profound sense of isolation most victims expressed, she wrote “A Journey Through the Penumbra” to dispel the secrecy and increase awareness about rape.

“A Journey Through the Penumbra” is a fictional account of a young woman who is raped on her college campus and her subsequent descent into suicidal psychosis and finally, recovery. If you or some one you know has been the victim of a attack, find out where to go for help in the free special report Juarez offers, “Top 10 Resources for Victims of Sexual Abuse,” available at http://www.cjuarez.com. “If a friend has been raped, give her the assistance and support you'd want to receive,” says Juarez. Here she offers six ways to help a hurting friend:

1. Stay with her. Listen to her. Be reassuring.

2. Encourage her not to destroy any evidence by washing herself or changing clothes.

3. Suggest that she seek immediate medical help and an examination. Offer to go with her to the doctor.

4. Advise her to report the crime. Offer to go with her to the police.

5. Reassure her that however she reacted during the assault, she did the best she could do at the time. What happened is not her fault.

6. Recommend that she talk to a counselor.

While there’s no way to erase what has happened to your friend, your commitment to care and concern can play a vital role in her recovery. Get the free special report "How I Stopped a Rapist and How You Can Too,” or purchase your copy of “A Journey Through the Penumbra” at http://www.cjuarez.com.


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Cassandra Juarez
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