My Partner

Many significant others feel that they need to do something in order to help the survivor get over the pain of the sexual assault. Oftentimes, however, there is not a lot that you can do. The pain is inevitable and can take months or years for the survivor to completely work through.

You can help yourself and your partner by: 

  • Educating yourself about sexual assault and the healing process
  • Listen to and validate the feelings the survivor may be experiencing
  • Listen to and express your own feelings regarding the assault
  • Don't ignore what happened or try to smooth it over and "make it better"
  • Respect the time and space it takes to heal - patience and acceptance are essential
  • Ask the survivor what he/she wants and needs
  • Seek support yourself - sexual assault helpline counselors and other professionals are available to help you, as well as the survivor.
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    Be sure to:
    Believe them! The best thing you can do for your partner is to believe them when they tell you that they were sexually assaulted.

    Give them control. Sexual assault victims need the chance to re-establish a sense of personal control over what happens in their lives. The victim needs to be heard, respected, to understand all of the options available to them, and to move at his/her own pace through the recovery process.
    Time is of the essence. Your partner will be in crisis and in need of immediate support. Also, the window for securing evidence for possible prosecution is short. At the same time, the victim will need time and ongoing support to recover from the assault in a constructive manner.
    Be a partner in healing. In addition to the effects it has on the victim, rape profoundly affects the victim's loved ones.

    Here are some helpful hints to be a good partner in healing.     
    Direct your partner to resources. Recommend that your partner seek counseling. There are a lot of emotions that can surface because of a sexual assault accusation. A counselor can help your partner sort through these emotions in a healthy way. It may also be helpful for you to seek counseling to deal with the emotions you may be experiencing as a result of this situation. Get educated on the issue of sexual assault. The more information you know, the better you will understand what your partner is going through. The information on this website can be helpful in answering your questions. You may also contact the Office of Institutional Equity.
    Be available to listen. Even though your partner may be uncomfortable talking about the matter, let them know that you are available to listen to them.