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September, 2004

Be a good friend and listener

Be a friend first, actively listening to her, and being supportive.
Resist the urge to offer unsolicited "solutions."

Leave choices up to her

Let her regain control, as to if and when she wants to talk about things.
Let her decide when she's ready to be intimate, affectionate, or physical.
Don't rush anything, or pressure her.

Be understanding about intimacy

She may question her attractiveness and feel like less of a woman.
She may not be open to being touched or hugged.
Even the innocence of your own weight against her can trigger flashbacks of the horror she went through.

Be aware of what she has to deal with

She may experience nightmares and bad dreams.
She may blame herself.

Get support for yourself

You may find you need to talk with a rape counselor also.
Be careful about resentment and withdrawing from her.
If you're bothered by someone else having been with your spouse/partner, then you definitely need to get that "perception" straightened out.
Deal with any guilt you might feel about what happened.
Channel any anger you may feel out of you in a non-destructive manner.

Be patient

Healing takes a long time.  Her memories of the trauma will always be with her.
Don't keep your feelings inside.  She needs you to be close to her, not distant.  No matter how apart you may feel from her, she has needs for security, for safety, for stability, and normalcy.

See also:
How Do You Help a Survivor of Sexual Assault?

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