There are many ways that you can help a friend or family member who has been sexually assaulted:

  • Listen. Be there. Don’t be judgmental.
  • Be patient. Remember, it will take your loved one some time to deal with what happened.
  • Help to empower your loved one. Sexual assault takes away an individual’s power and agency over their own body. It is important not to compound this experience by putting pressure on your loved one to do things that they are not ready to do yet.
  • If you are dealing with an issue involving your child, create a safe place by talking directly to them.
  • If you are the non-abusing parent in a case of incest, it is important to support your child and help them through this situation without blaming them. This is also true if you are not a parent but still an observer of incest.
  • If your loved one is considering suicide, follow-up with them on a regular basis.
  • Encourage your loved one to learn the options that are available to them after an assault. For more information, go to our page to Get Support for Yourself. If your loved one has questions about the criminal justice process, talking with someone at BAWAR by calling (510) 800-4247 can help.
  • Let your loved one know that professional help is available through our Crisis Hotline (510) 800-4247.
  • If your loved one is interested in seeking medical attention or reporting the assault, offer to accompany them wherever they decide to go (hospital, police station, campus security, etc.)
  • Offer our hotline, and realize that only your loved one can make the decision to get support.

It is also important to note that having a friend or family member who is assaulted can be a very upsetting experience. For this reason, it is also important that you take care of yourself. Even if your friend and family member isn’t ready to talk to a hotline advocate, you can get support for yourself. You can also get ideas about ways to help your friend or family member through the recovery process.


24-Hour Hotline in English and Spanish
Línea directa las 24 horas en inglés y español
(510) 800-4247

Bay Area Women Against Rape
411 30th St Suite 412
Oakland, CA 94609

Office Hours: M-F, 9am – 5pm PST

Office: (510) 430-1298