How To Respond If Your Partner Has Been Sexually Assaulted Or Harassed

News of widespread sexual assault and harassment allegations against film executive Harvey Weinstein has prompted more and more victims to come forward by the day.

Actress and director Asia Argento, one of more than 20 women who have spoken out about their experiences, has had a fierce defender in her camp: Boyfriend Anthony Bourdain.

“I am proud and honored to know you,” the celebrity chef tweeted on Tuesday, alongside a link to The New Yorker exposé Argento was interviewed for. “You just did the hardest thing in the world.”

.@AsiaArgento I am proud and honored to know you. You just did the hardest thing in the world. https://t.co/i2Lsb6h5vU

— Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) October 10, 2017

Bourdain’s support of Argento highlights an important, but rarely discussed side of sexual assault and harassment: How spouses and partners of victims respond and support their significant others.

While there’s no “right” way to respond, there are things you can do that are helpful rather than hindering. Below, therapists and experts in sexual abuse share seven tips.

1. Validate their experiences.

Many abuse survivors doubt the severity of what happened to them or feel like they’re somehow to blame because of what their abuser told them or made them feel in the aftermath of the incident.

As their partner, your job is to listen, be in their corner and remind them that you believe them, 100 percent, said Virginia Gilbert, a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, California.

“Survivors’ self-doubt and shame grows exponentially if their family or culture colludes with abusers ― if everyone around the survivor normalizes and enables abuse,” she said. “The first step in helping your partner heal is to validate their experience by calling out abuse.”

That means talking about what happened in matter-of-fact terms, Gilbert said: “You were raped;” “People knew what was happening to you and didn’t stop it;” “You were in a vulnerable position and were afraid of the consequences if you spoke up.”

That kind of directness can help clear up any self-doubt your partner may be experiencing in the wake of the abuse.

2. Listen without interrupting and reacting.

The revelation will very likely leave you feeling shaken up. While it’s natural to feel protective and react with anger, remind yourself to stay calm. The last thing your partner

Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Lifestyle

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