Supporting a Survivor with PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is well known for its affiliation with military veterans, however what people often fail to realize is that post traumatic stress disorder can affect any person who has experienced a traumatic event. This is particularly true for survivors of sexual violence. Sexual assault and abuse survivors are at high risk for develop Post Traumatic Stress disorder following the attack.

Supporting someone with post traumatic stress disorder can seem like a daunting task but with some structure, a great deal of patient support, and knowledge of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, you can be your loved one’s greatest asset.

Supporting a loved one with PTSD

    1. Don’t pressure a survivor into telling you more than they are comfortable with. Survivors should always be allowed to take the lead in their own healing. You are never entitled to have a survivor tell you their story.
    2. If the survivor does want to talk to you about their traumatic event, they are entrusting you with a very intimate piece of their life. Listen respectfully and believe their story. Do not take over his or her story with your own experiences or feelings. Avoid giving easy answers; this is not an easy situation and easy answers will only push a survivor away.
    3. Remember that your loved one is deeply affected by the traumatic event. They are stuck in a mindset in which they are always on edge. Establishing a sense of trust and security will be key in helping a survivor heal from sexual assault. You can help do this by helping victims maintain a routine to minimize extra stress and by emphasizing the strengths your survivor has as well as confidence in their ability to heal.
    • 4. Check out this Article!