When your friend, family member, or someone you’re close commits a crime, it can leave you feeling conflicted. That goes extra for a crime like sexual assault. Part of you will want to defend your friend no matter what, but another part of you will want to do the right thing. It’s not an easy position to be in, especially if you’re worried that you may get caught up in the legal storm that often comes from a sexual assault case.
Committed Sexual Assault
When someone commits sexual assault, they can face a strong social stigma that seriously changes how their friends and family interact with them. It’s lonely, and you don’t want your friend to go through a tough time alone, but when serious crimes are in play, you need to care for your needs first. There isn’t much you can do to help anyway; that’s why sexual assault lawyers exist.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having a friend that has committed a sexual assault, read on to discover what you can do. Signs You Hired a Bad Lawyer.
Things To Keep In Mind
Even though you’re not directly involved in the incident or legal proceedings, being the friend of someone who commits a sexual assault is stressful. It can lead to feelings of shock, anger, denial, uncertainty, betrayal, sadness, disappointment, or concern. All of these feelings are valid, need to be acknowledged and worked through. If you find yourself having a difficult time coping with these emotions, consider finding professional counselling services to help you process them.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Friends are supposed to help friends. That means it’s possible your friend could turn to you for help and support. This can be a difficult scenario to navigate because, on the one hand, you want to help your friend who’s going through a tough time, but on the other hand, you know that they’ve committed a horrible crime. If your friend does come to you for support, it’s ok to listen to their side of the story in a non-judgemental way. However, if you feel uncomfortable or unfit to provide your full support, you are allowed to set healthy boundaries for yourself.
Remember, it’s not your responsibility to pass judgement or determine whether or not a crime has been committed. Leave all of that work to the police, sexual assault lawyers, and courts.
Don’t Get Physical
It’s understandable to get hot-headed when you find out your friend does something like commit sexual assault. Not only because they did something you consider unethical, but because your whole perception of your friend gets flipped upside down. If you thought they were the type of person who would commit a sexual assault, you might have never have been their friend in the first place. This shock can lead to anger, which can lead to violence. It’s extremely important to remember that violence and/or retaliation is never appropriate nor helpful to anyone.
Instead of flying off the handle, all you can do is reaffirm and state the values that you find sexual assault to be not okay. You can do this without being aggressive or accusatory. It’s possible to support a friend in general while still holding them accountable for their actions.
How To Report A Sexual Assault
If you find yourself in a situation where you know a friend has committed a sexual assault, but no one else knows about it, it’s well within your rights to report the crime. This is a tough decision to make, but sometimes the right decisions are the most difficult.
If you see a sexual assault in progress, you always have the option to dial 9-1-1 to get the police on the scene as quickly as possible. You can also call the police’s non-emergency line to report a sexual assault no matter how long after the event occurred. From there, all you can do is take care of your own well-being and let the police, sexual assault lawyers, and courts sort out the rest.