How to help rape victims


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Most rape victims are suffering from Rape Related PTSD which may make the victim feel very disoriented.

At this stage victims may do or say things which aren't logical. While it's important to make a victim feel that they have regained control over their life and decisions, victims often have great difficulty functioning after an assault.
It is crucial that the people around them educate themselves to:

The links below will help you begin to understand and help your loved ones. If you are reporting a rape you should ask the local crisis center for a victim's advocate who will walk you through the process. For information on Reporting a rape click here.

Most rape survivors need to speak with a crisis counselor. You can find one at 1 800-656-HOPE in the US. Rape crisis centers often offer free in-person counseling as well as phone support. Survivors should also seek therapy from a specialist in rape trauma syndrome (also look into EMDR).

Are you a partner or significant other of a rape victim? This page has advice from survivors.

The best ways to reduce feelings of shame are:

What is rape trauma syndrome? Please download this document and find out.

"Two main styles of emotion were shown by the victims within the first few hours after the rape: expressed and controlled. In the expressed style. the victim demonstrated such feelings as anger, fear and anxiety. They were restless during the interview, becoming tense when certain questions were asked, crying or sobbing when describing specific acts of the assailant, smiling in an anxious manner when certain issues were stated. In the controlled style, the feelings of the victim were masked or hidden, and a calm, composed or subdued affect could be noted. "

What can you expect of a person who has just been assaulted?

What can you expect after a person has been raped?
In most cases these symptoms prevent rape victims from functioning at full capacity and helping themselves. It’s important at this time for others to give their support and help protect them.

Coping and Reactions - Rape Trauma Syndrome. What to expect from an assault survivor.

How to help rape victims who are experiencing trauma

How to help rape victims and the stages of trauma.
This site was recommended by the founder of hope for healing (on a message board) with the advice that you can also order a paper copy.

How to help rape victims from RAINN

RAINN how to help rape victims. How can I help a friend who has been sexually assaulted?

What NOT to say

What not to say to a rape victim.


How to Support a Friend who has been raped

The best thing you can do for a friend who tells you that they are being sexually abused is to listen.

Supporting Someone Who Has Been Raped or Sexually Assaulted

"When someone has been raped or sexually assaulted, they obviously need a great deal of support from the people around them"

How Do I Know if a Friend has been Sexually Assaulted?

" There is no one way to identify if someone has been sexually assaulted unless she or he or someone close to them tells you that this has occurred. However, there are several signs/symptoms of rape trauma (a type of post-traumatic stress) which may help you to identify if a friend needs help."

Futures Without Violence


End Abuse Campaigns: Reaching Men
Coaching Boys into Men
Boys are swamped with influences outside of the home – from friends, the neighborhood, television, the internet, music, the movies… everything they see around them. They hear all kinds of messages about what it means to “be a man” – that they have to be tough and in control. There are numerous conflicting and some harmful messages being given to boys about what constitutes “being a man” in a relationship. So teach boys early, and teach them often, that there is no place for violence in a relationship.

Audio for endabuse adds to train boys not to abuse women.

Healthy dating

Program on rape education on middle and high schools


Shame and how to help

"But often, simple human contact is the most important thing for a shamed person. Even this can be difficult to offer because shame makes people withdraw.

"The most important thing is to keep up contact with someone -- for example, the kid who drops out of college and is now a strung-out marijuana addict," Tangney says. "Marginalized people -- and nobody is more marginalized than the mentally ill -- need to have a place in society. That is a very powerful message that should be attended to by communities, whether they are religious or family or neighborhood communities."

Approaching a shamed person can be tricky, Josephs warns.

"If you see shame preventing someone from getting health care, you can confront it as irrational," he says. "You can say there is nothing to be ashamed of, and if people hear it, they hear it. But when you point out that they are ashamed, people can get touchy and angry. If you point out their shame, you could get into a fight. So bring it up, but in a tactful way, knowing this is a tough issue."

Tangney says that the best approach is to avoid further shaming. The first thing to offer is support and empathy. Rather than confront a person's shame, it's better to point out -- very, very gently -- how a person's behavior is harming areas of life that the person really values.

"There is a lot of evidence suggesting this is a good approach," Tangney says. "And to my ears it is all about shame reduction."

Related pages within this site:

Distribute Training Manuals to professionals

Find out about rape trauma syndrome


Ways to reduce stigma and shame





Resources to research this subject:

Journals and articles

Search the NCJRS Abstracts Database

Google scholar or Findarticles

Finding books at the library

Online Libraries on sexual assault

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Search terms: rape crisis

Related links: Victim blame


Macdonalds, J. (2004). World Book Encyclopedia. United States of America: World Book Inc.

rape. (2006). Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 2, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service.

Smith, M. D. (2004). Encyclopedia of Rape. USA: Greenwood Press.

Sedney, M., "rape (crime)." Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Scholastic Library Publishing, 2006 <> (February 1, 2006).



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