It’s so hard to hear that a friend has been sexually abused. You might not know what to do or who to turn to. You are not responsible for making the abuse stop, but you can help by being a good friend.
What can I do?
Your friend is going through a lot right now. Sexual abuse stirs up a whirlwind of emotions that can include anger, confusion, hurt and sadness. Your friend might start saying negative things about themselves. You might also see your friend trying to cope in ways that might damage their health, such as by abusing alcohol or drugs.
It’s a good idea to let your friend know that you’re worried. Say: “I want to see you get better.” Don’t get upset if your friend isn’t ready to talk about it. Knowing that you care might be enough for now.
Your friend might be ready to speak to a counsellor, but too nervous to reach out. Offer to help. Go with your friend to speak to someone at school, such as a teacher, principal, guidance counsellor or coach. Consider asking them if they would like for you both to call Kids Help Phone together.
Help your friend by offering them resources that you found helpful. Share our number with them.
Being a good friend is a demanding job. You will need support. Speak to a parent or counsellor about your feelings. You can also call a counsellor at Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868.
Listen if your friend is ready to talk. Say supportive things like “I know you’re going through a lot right now.” Let your friend cry. Don’t pressure your friend to talk about it and don’t ask for details of what happened.
You might want to check out resources on sexual abuse at your local library. But prepare yourself: reading about sexual abuse can be really upsetting. You need to take good care of yourself. Don’t force yourself to read anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Get support for yourself if you need it. Click here for books on sexual abuse.
Your friend has to have a life outside of the abuse. Do things that will help take your friend’s mind off of what happened.
Last reviewed: March 2014 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team