Most of us know someone who has experienced interpersonal violence (sexual assault, abusive relationships, stalking, or harassment), and supporting that person can be difficult work. Watching people who we love and care about suffer is never easy, and we often want to do anything that we can to help them feel better. This is a wonderful impulse! It can give us energy to provide lasting and meaningful support to others. However, it can also encourage us to set up unhealthy boundaries as friends and allies.
The most powerful and generous gestures we can make to individuals who have experienced interpersonal violence are to
1) Listen to the experiences and emotions that they are sharing
2) Validate and Believe what they share and
3) Connect them to reporting and support resources that they feel comfortable seeking