It is up to you who you do and don’t tell about what has happened.  Some people will want to tell their parents, partner, friends and some people won’t. It’s important that you do what is best for you.

It can be hard to know how to talk about this, to know what words to use, worry about how people will react, and concern that it will cause your loved ones pain.

I don’t know how to say the words

If you have never spoken about your experience or rape or sexual abuse before it may help to practice saying it out loud; you could go somewhere by yourself. Go for a walk somewhere alone and tell your story. Or you could call our helpline to talk things through. When you do tell your friend/loved one try to find somewhere private where you won’t be interrupted.

Some people struggle to say out loud what has happened to them. Some options her are writing a letter, an email, or even leaving the SARSAS website open on your computer/tablet and explaining that you need to talk about the stuff on this website.

What will happen when I tell them?

It can help to think about what you want to come from telling someone. Some of the reasons (but not all) may include:

  • wanting support from friends and loved ones
  • protecting others in the household
  • expressing disappointment, sorrow, or anger about your parents not protecting you
  • needing practical help (e.g. time off work or school for counselling sessions)
  • wanting freedom from the anxiety cause by keeping a secret
  • to support intimacy with a partner

There is no guarantee how someone will react. Responses you might get:

  • Shock and/or denial
  • Crying
  • Anger at the perpetrator
  • Warmth and support
  • Confusion
  • Encouragement or insistence that you get counselling or report to the police

They may also have lots of questions so it may be a good idea to think in advance about what you want them to know. You don’t have to share any details that you don’t want to.

It can be hard talking about the trauma you have experienced so be kind to yourself. Try to plan something soothing and calm to do after talking to your loved one.

Want to talk?

Women and girls

0808 801 0456*

Mon & Fri 11am – 2pm,
Tue, Wed and Thu 6pm – 8:30pm

Men and boys

0808 801 0464*

Mon & Fri 11am – 2pm,
Tue 6pm – 8:30pm

What to expect when you call

*Self-defined gender identity. Trans and non-binary callers welcome.

Want to talk?

Women and girls

0808 801 0456*

Mon & Fri 11am – 2pm,
Tue, Wed and Thu 6pm – 8:30pm

Men and boys

0808 801 0464*

Mon & Fri 11am – 2pm,
Tue 6pm – 8:30pm

What to expect when you call

*Self-defined gender identity. Trans and non-binary callers welcome.

Listening, believing & supporting