Supporters and trusted persons can be partners, friends, parents, relatives and other persons offering (professional) support to survivors of sexual violence.

When you hear that someone close to you was raped or affected by sexual violence, whether recently or in the past, this may set off worries, mental distress, anxieties, feelings of insecurity in you as a trusted person as well.

There is your care, the urge to help, but often as well a feeling of helplessness, or that of reaching your own limits. Maybe you know what you would do – but the woman or girl affected does not want to hear any of this. The confidence given to you often means taking on a responsibility that may become a burden.

That is why we offer support to you as supporters as well, knowing that it is not easy to cope with the emotional, mental, and physical impact of sexual violence on a survivor.

Here’s a number of suggestions of how to give care and support:

  • Believe her
  • Listen and show that you are listening
  • Communicate without judgement (remember it’s not her fault)
  • Be patient, be there
  • Be emphathetic. You can find more information on rape here.
  • Reassure her, respect her wishes and choices
  • Offer support (protection, a safe space)
  • Avoid asking probing questions, don’t ask for details
  • Let her stay in control and let her make her own decisions – do not push or press her (just check out what she wants and needs explore her options), e.g. whether or not to report to the police is entirely the survivor’s decision
  • Take care of yourself and your own needs (supporting a survivor may be daunting)
  • Get support, e.g. from local agencies (contact us)



Sexual Violence

Human dignity shall be inviolable.
(Article 1 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany)