Options for Survivors and Allies to Support Survivors


Immediate Period Following Sexual Violence

  • Creating Safety

  • Options for Medical Care

  • Options for Mental Health Care

  • Survivors' Rights

  • Possible Reporting Options


Ongoing Needs Following Sexual Violence

  • Maintaining Safety and Stability

  • (Re)Creating Trust and (Re)Building Relationships

  • Reducing Self-Blame, Shame, Worthlessness, and Guilt

  • Exploring Options for Care and Healing

  • Processing Event(s)

  • Examining Cultural Factors that Contribute to Sexual Violence and Interfere with Healing


Identity-Specific Resources

Anyone can survive sexual violence, yet needs and reactions can vary depending on survivors' identities and experiences.

Survivors of all identities can refer to the information above and on the ARISE front page.


  • It's important to consider that members of marginalized groups are more likely to experience sexual violence due to less cultural power. While sexual violence is alarmingly common in all communities, marginalized communities are disproportionally affected by sexual violence. 
    • “Sexual violence is an aggressive act. The underlying factors in many sexually violent acts are power and control, not, as is widely perceived, a craving for sex. Rarely is it a crime of passion. It is rather a violent, aggressive, and hostile act used as a means to degrade, dominate, humiliate, terrorize, and control.” -World Health Organization.

      • Power: intentional use of emotional, romantic, financial, social, physical, situational, etc. influence over another person.

      • Control: coercion, manipulation, limitation, etc. over someone else’s bodily autonomy.

    • Individuals from marginalized groups (e.g., people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, women, children, people with disabilities, low-income individuals, and individuals at the intersections of these identities) have less social power, which increases the chance they will be targeted for sexual violence by perpetrators as they are less likely to be believed if they report, have less access to resources, are less likely to be respected by others, etc.


Supporting Someone Who Has Survived Sexual Violence

People who have experienced sexual violence have survived a profound violation. Their sense of safety and control has been shattered. Survivors’ reactions may vary significantly, depending on their experience, personality, culture, and age. Before you start talking to a survivor, try to understand what they are going through:

  • Remember that they have been through a painful, traumatic experience. They are likely to act differently after what happened. Some of their reactions may be hard to watch, but being there for them can help a lot.
  • Be patient and understanding. The trauma of a sexual violence does not go away quickly. There is no timeline or formula for healing, so every survivor's experience will be different. Research shows that reactions to sexual violence can last for months or years. Reactions can also come-and-go over time or appear different over time.
  • There is no 'right' or 'wrong' way for survivors to respond. No one should judge or criticize how survivors respond after sexual violence.

Here are some important tips for helping someone who has survived sexual violence:

  • Share You Believe Them

  • Listen to Them

  • Show Them Respect

  • Offer to Take Action

  • Share Information with Them

  • Inform Them if You Have to Report to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance

  • Thank Them

  • Recognize Your Reactions  

  • Additional Tips

  • Unhelpful Responses to Avoid