An estimated 35% of women around the world have experienced sexual violence in their lifetimes according to UN Women. Despite common misconceptions, it occurs just as easily to men and children alike.
The act can be committed by anyone ranging from strangers to family members, and such incidents have been on the rise.
Here are 5 ways you can help a victim of sexual violence.
- Be There for the Victim
The first step towards helping anyone who has been sexually abused or assaulted is to be there for them.
That means having a non-judgmental approach, and being trustworthy and loving towards them. This attitude will help them gradually confide in you – imagine, the amount of courage it would take for a victim to open up about their traumatic experience.
As documented by RAINN, it is crucial that victims of sexual violence believe that their experience was not their fault. So, provide them with as much comfort and re-assurance as possible.
Allow your friend who confided in you the chance to heal and rebuild themselves within the safety of your relationship.
- Educate Yourself
Take the time to educate yourself on the matter.
In recent times, the topic of sexual violence has been covered significantly by the mainstream media.
- Seek Professional Help
It’s not easy initiating the conversation on sexual violence, but that’s needed to open doors for the next step – seeking professional help.
The sooner a victim is able to seek expert help, the better.
However, exercise caution when doing so, as the victim might not be prepared.
Sakhi, sacc and manavi are just some examples of organisations in the region that provide outreach programmes, counselling sessions and support groups for fellow victims to share their experiences and encourage each other in the healing process.
- Play an Active Role
Join local support groups and support their fundraisers and outreach programmes that seek to educate others on sexual violence.
Becoming an advocate in the fight against sexual violence in your own community is not only a declaration of support to your friend, but to other victims who are afraid to come forward and share their stories.
Even your smallest gesture of support can contribute significantly to the fight against sexual violence across the world.
- See Something, Say Something
It takes just one person to stop an act of sexual violence.
Have the courage to call out the perpetrator when witnessing even the slightest hint of a non-consensual act.
If everyone can do their part, it would be a big step towards ending sexual violence.
If you know of anyone who has experienced sexual violence, or if you yourself are a victim, don’t be afraid to speak out, for you are not alone.