Responding to a person's disclosure with compassion, validation, and support can be an important step for a survivor healing from trauma. There are many different ways people like to receive support and it is necessary to find out what feels best for the individual you are supporting. Do they want to talk? Do they want resources? Do they want to be distracted? Is it helpful to offer hugs? Is it helpful to share your own experiences? Before engaging with any of these options, determine which (if any) will work for the person.
At OSAPR, we recognize that supporting survivors confronts widely-held attitudes that cast doubt on people who come forward. As a result, supporting survivors is integral to preventing future incidents of harm. By supporting a survivor, we can validate that what has happened to them is not okay and not their fault. This validation also sends a message to the larger community that these types of incidents are harmful and may have consequences, thus creating less and less room for them to occur.