- Tell the victim that it is not their fault. Show that you care about their well-being without any judgement. Keep the following points in mind:
- Memory: A traumatic experience can impact your memory. A victim may recall the event hesitantly, or may have accurate but fragmented memory of the event and experience difficulty recalling what happened in a linear fashion.
- Emotions: In reaction to trauma, the victim may experience unexpected emotional reactions. While recalling an incident, they may remain unemotional or experience extreme emotional swings.
- Physical response: Know that trauma can cause temporary immobility in a victim, that causes the body to freeze in situations that provoke extreme fear. Resisting or escaping for a victim experiencing this is not possible. At this point, a person experiencing trauma will not have full control over their muscle response.
- TAKE ACTION: HELP THE VICTIM:
- In case of child abuse, you can report the case to the police. In fact, by law you should report such a case if you suspect anything. You will not have any civil or criminal liabilities if you report in good faith.
- In case of adult victims, try to talk to them and make them report the case.
- If you know that a woman is subjected to domestic violence and marital rape, then too you can report to the police station about this and you will have no criminal or civil liabilities.
- Many times, the police will not be interested in filing a report about the incident. In fact, the police sometimes refuse to write a report even when the victims themselves go to file the report. In such cases, you can call up helplines and NGOs like Nakshatra, where experts can take up the situation and try to help the victim with legal justice, medical treatment and psychological aid.
- GET COUNSELLING HELP. Sexual violence can have psychological, emotional, and physical effects on a survivor. These effects aren’t always easy to deal with, but with the right help and support they can be managed. Therefore, counselling is an extremely important part of recovery for victims of sexual violence. We stress on the importance of counselling for the victim, for as long as required. Nakshatra offers free counselling for victims of sexual violence. Here are some things you can advise a victim to do when he or she is feeling at their lowest.
- Write your story. Support others who may be going through sexual abuse or who know of a person undergoing sexual abuse. They will be inspired to act if you share your story. Write to us. We respect the victim’s privacy. You can write to us anonymously. Even if you write your name or the victim’s name, we will not disclose it to anyone other than our small team of blog-editors under any circumstances.
Sometimes, you might be able to identify a child abuser. To find out about signs that might be present in a child abuser, read here.
For signs sometimes displayed by adults who have been abused, read here.