Friends and family members are often in the best position to provide needed support. A friend or family member is usually the first and often the only person to learn about an incident of sexual misconduct, dating/domestic violence, or stalking.
Individuals with the strongest emotional attachments to the person harmed may be inclined to question their son, daughter, or friend's decision-making. A call for help might become an "I told you so" moment or a lecture on personal safety and risk reduction. It's natural to do this. It's a way of coping. Unfortunately, this way of coping may add to the feelings of blame or guilt that victims/survivors often experience and further reduce the likelihood of someone reporting an incident or asking for help.
In addition to being familiar with how to respond to a disclosure, friends and family members may be in the best position to identify when a victim/survivor is struggling to cope. RVAP has developed an excellent brochure for parents of sexual assault survivors and has additional information on this web page.