How to Help Someone You Care About

Listen. Communicate without judgment and monitor your nonverbal reactions. Be aware of your body signals and stop yourself before reacting to something you may find surprising, shocking or objectionable.

Use gender neutral or preferred pronouns. Use ambiguous language (such as “partner” or “significant other” other instead of “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”) so it is clear you are not assuming anything about their identity or the identity of their perpetrator. Instead, wait for the survivor to disclose this information and then use the pronouns they do. If you are unsure of what pronouns to use, ask.

Be there. If the survivor seeks medical attention or plans to report, offer to be there. Your presence can offer the support they need.

Be careful not to out an LGBT+ survivor. Even if a survivor has disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity to you, few people in their life may know. Approach this area with sensitivity if you ask whether this person is out, and to whom. Knowing the answer to this question will help you provide more appropriate support when communicating with hospital staff or the survivor’s friends, partners or family.

Share resources. Encourage them to take advantage of resources like those offered on this page, but realize that only they can make the decision to get help.

Be patient. Remember, there is no timetable for recovering from trauma. Avoid putting pressure on them to engage in activities they aren’t ready to do yet.

Self-care. Encourage the survivor to practice good self-care, and make sure you are caring for yourself too!

Related Links


Women's Center

Alumni Hall 2nd Floor 
300 College Park 
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0322