When it comes to social and political movement such as the #MeToo Movement, you have to think about the victims that have suffered these traumatic events. This is something that not only happens to adults but college students and children of all ages. One of the easiest ways to help is by opening the floor for survivors to speak about their experience, making sure that they know you believe them to the fullest, and telling them that they are extremely courageous for telling you. The next way to support survivors is to tell them that they are not at fault for this and they did not deserve for this to happen. Afterward, let them know that this shouldn’t have happened to them.
There are many ways to continue supporting your friend after the first initial encounter you have with them telling their story. Be sure to remain judgement free while witnessing someone struggle with the effects of sexual assault. Avoid phrases like “You’ve been acting like this for a while now,” or “How much longer will you feel this way?” Those phrases indicate that there is a time frame for how long a survivor has to deal with the effects of the assault. Remember to check in periodically.
While the event may have happened long ago, this does not mean that the survivor is through the pain. Understand that although you may be the most supportive friend, you are not professionally equipped to manage someone else’s mental health. Provide your friend with resources that you can recommend to them once they’re ready. There’s the National Sexual Assault Hotline and they can be reached at 800-656-HOPE (4673). As well as RAINN, where they can chat with someone anonymously online at online.rainn.org for english and rainn.org/es for spanish speakers.Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo Movement, has links to many resources both local and national on her organization’s website which can be found at metoomvmt.org/healing/.