How to Provide Support
Cheyenne Regional Medical Center’s sexual assault/forensic nurses provide safe, compassionate, and confidential care to anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault.
If a friend or family member has recently experienced sexual assault or been the victim of a crime, they may turn to you for help or support. As you’re important to the survivor, they may want to share their experience with you, and knowing how to respond will be very helpful in your friend or family member’s recovery.
For additional support and resources, please contact a CRMC forensic nurse by calling (307) 633-7670.
What to say
- Nothing you did (or didn’t do) makes you deserve this.
- I’m glad you told me.
- How can I/we help you feel safer?
- I love you.
- I’m proud of you.
- This happens to other people. Would it help to talk with some of them?
- I’m sorry this happened.
- I believe you.
- I’ll support your decisions.
- How are you feeling?
- What can I do to help?
What not to say
- This is all my fault.
- This wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t ________________.
- I told you not to: go to that party, date that person, hang out with those people.
- Just forget it ever happened.
- Get over it.
- This is private. Don’t tell anyone what happened.
- Try not to think about it.
- I want to kill the person who hurt you.
- Why did you ____?
- Why didn’t you tell me sooner?
- Why didn’t you fight them off
Let them make their own decisions
As you help, allow your friend or family member to maintain control over what happens next. Offer information, and then let your friend family member make his/her own decisions including who to talk to, what services to access, and what actions to take or not take.
Even if you disagree with your friend family member, your support will help them feel more in control. When they remain in control, they will be better able to regain a sense of strength, power and safety.
Protect their privacy
It’s important that you get permission from your friend or family member before you talk to anyone about what they’ve shared with you. They confided in you because they trust you. If you talk to another person about the incident, your friend or family member may feel betrayed.
Take care of yourself
When someone you care about is hurt, it is normal to feel angry, sad, and powerless. As a friend or family member, it’s also common to experience many of the same reactions a survivor does.
Processing your feelings with the person who was sexually assaulted can be overwhelming to that person but talking to someone else may violate your friend’s privacy. You might consider getting professional support with how you are feeling. Do not confront an alleged offender. This can be dangerous.
Our community is full of resources to help you advocate for yourself, find support, and offer guidance. You are not alone; we are here to help!
- Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (CRMC)
– Main: (307) 634-2273
– Emergency Department: (307) 633-7670
– Sex Assault Coordinator: (307) 633-7610
– Behavioral Health: (307) 633-7382
– Victim Helpline: (888) 996-8816
- Cheyenne Laramie County Public Health: (307) 633-4000
- Family Planning: (307) 633-4040
- Peak Wellness: (307) 634-9653
- Human Trafficking Hotline: (888) 373-7888
- Safe House: (307) 634-8655
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233
- Suicide Hotlines: (800) 457-9312, (800) SUICIDE
- Wyoming Office of Victim Services: (307) 777-7200
- US Attorney Victim Program: (307) 772-2124
- Burns Police Department: (307) 547-2252
- Cheyenne Police Department: (307) 637-6519
- Laramie County Sheriff’s Office: (307) 633-4700
- Pine Bluffs Police Department: (307) 245-3777
- FE Warren AFB Response Coordinator: (307) 773-6444