Helpful Suggestions for Parents

If you know or suspect that your child may have been raped, sexually assaulted or abused, you probably feel helpless and desperate to find a way to help him or her.  You’re not alone; we want to help, too!  Consider these suggestions on ways to be supportive and contact us at Baylor Counseling Services if we can offer more assistance to you or your child during this very difficult time.   

I think my child has been sexually assaulted, what should I do!?

What To Do


What NOT To Do

Remain calm and listen non-judgmentally


Teach, judge, blame, or criticize (instead just listen and offer comfort)

Acknowledge their pain and the wrong-doing


Cry after he/she tells you about the abuse while your child is with you

Never blame them for the abuse, even though your child may blame him/herself for the assault


Focus on what they should have done differently

Tell them they didn’t deserve the abuse and that you hate this happened to them


Force them to talk to you about it or ask about details

Tell them that you love them and ask what you can do to help


Tell the family or their friends about the abuse (instead allow some privacy)

Empower them to make their own choices


Make choices for them

Understand it is normal for them to sometimes feel unsafe even in safe situations


Bring up the assault or abuse unless it’s initiated by them

Be sensitive to the fact that they may need more physical space or want to avoid physical touch (but if they request it, don’t avoid it)


View them as damaged or broken or change the way you relate to them

Take what is shared with you seriously and understand survivors will often minimize the impact of an assault


Minimize the assault or question their reactions to the abusive person

Be hopeful.  Encourage them that they can recover and to talk to a mental health professional when they’re ready


Believe it is hopeless for them to recover

The student may also choose to contact or go to a local hospital or police department, for more information about healthcare and legal options following a sexual assault.  He/she may also contact Baylor Counseling Services to speak with a Counselor about these options or other concerns.  It is also understandable if you want to pursue counseling for yourself.