How to Support Survivors in Your Life
When someone discloses their trauma, it takes a lot of trust and courage to be open and willing to confide in someone close to them. Many survivors may not wish to disclose this to anyone at all.
The initial disclosure may feel overwhelming at first to you, but please know your compassion and desire to support someone is incredibly valuable for survivors. Your support can have such a positive impact on someone’s healing journey. To make things feel less overwhelming, we have an acronym with some tips on responding to a disclosure.
When someone discloses to you to show CARE:
Compassion. When someone discloses to us, listen first and respond with care. Responses like “I hear you, and I believe you” can create a safe space for the disclosed person. By treating them with kindness and empathy, you can help them feel validated.
Acknowledge the impacts of harm with validating statements, i.e. "It's not your fault.". You can also acknowledge the limitation of your support role.
Refer them to services. If the person who disclosed is a fellow TMU student, Consent Comes First can connect you and the survivor with services and support following a disclosure. This includes group support, counselling support, and referral services. Additionally, our connection to the services page includes a list of community and TMU resources available.
Empower yourself. When someone discloses to us, the impacts of trauma may be very difficult. We may begin to feel various emotions, including anger, confusion, sadness, and overwhelming. You are completely valid for this and deserve compassion and support. Following a disclosure, being gentle with yourself and practicing self-care are essential. If you need additional support, we are here for you. We encourage you to contact Consent Comes First at TMU through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.