It is not easy for someone to talk to survivors of physical assault. You often do not know what to say to the person, especially if he/she is a friend or a family member. For the survivor, disclosing the details of the incident is traumatic and painful, so it is prudent for you to have an open mind and be non-judgmental as possible.
Dr. Robert Turner is a physical assault counselor and a man of faith who attends church regularly. He volunteers in socio-civic work by counseling survivors of physical assault to help them deal with the traumatic experience and return to a fulfilling life.
According to him, the survivor finds it really hard to disclose the details of the physical assault incident to someone they know. Family members or friends should seek the intervention of a skilled counselor or support helpline to deal with the situation.
The survivor is vulnerable, with many mixed emotions. Seeking support from the right sources helps you and the victim deal with the situation in a healthy way.
Tips for dealing with the situation
Given below are some key tips for you to deal with the situation-
- Avoid judgment- As mentioned above, you should avoid judgment. For some people, especially loved ones, it can be emotionally challenging to see the survivor deal with the trauma for a very long time.
Sometimes, this can also be for an extended period, even after the incident. Avoid judgment and any sort of comment or phrases telling the victim that they are taking too long to recover from the situation.
- Check-in with the survivor periodically- The incident might have taken place a long time back, but this does not mean the victim has forgotten the incident. Be compassionate and check in with the mental and physical health of the person periodically.
Tell and show them you care about their overall well-being, and you believe in what they share with you.
- Know about the support resources linked to physical assault in your neighborhood -You care for the survivor, but this does not mean you are an expert in counseling or know the laws revolving around physical assault. Be familiar with resources you can suggest to the survivor.
In case he/she wishes to report the incident to the police or needs medical attention, be there with the survivor. Your presence will be a great mental support to the person.
According to Dr. Robert Turner, in case you sense the survivor has suicidal tendencies, look out for warning signs. Offer support and seek help from a skilled counselor in the field. It is a hard time for the survivor. Ensure they practice self-care and be around the survivor as much as they can.
You can offer care and support by accompanying them to counseling sessions with a skilled professional. These are small steps that will go a really long way to help the survivor feel loved and supported during this difficult phase of his/her life.