I am a friend

One of your friends expresses that they are going through something. Slowly you realise that it has to do with sexual misconduct. How do you handle this situation?

Trusting

Sharing an unpleasant or even traumatic experience is an enormous step for someone who has experienced unwanted sexual behavior. Try to keep the conversations between the two of you. However tempting it might be to reach out to someone else for advice, do not do this yet. Only share it with others once your friend is ready for this. Not every friendship is the same, some friends you speak to everyday, some friends  you might speak to once a month. Please feel how much contact is appropriate. Do not feel like you have to suddenly reach out to your friend everyday if that feels unnatural.

Be patient

Sometimes stories might come out at once, but sometimes it might take weeks or months until someone dares to open up completely about what happened. Every pace is okay and try not to force any conversations. This does not mean that you cannot ask questions, but please give your friend the space and time to find out what is right for them and what works best. Make sure there is a safe atmosphere for your friendship that feels right. 

 

Professional help

You want to be there for your child, but you are not a professional. If you notice that it has become too hard to support your friend or you feel like there is too much responsibility resting on you, look for professional help together. In a friendship you are supposed to support each other to a certain extent, but keep in mind that you cannot solve the trauma for someone else, they have to do go through their own process of healing. Try to gauge if your friend is open to seeking professional help and try to speak about it with them. Maybe you can look into it together to see what kind of therapy or ways of helping might work for your friend. 

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