A victim of a violent crime can experience tremendous emotional and mental stress. They may spiral down to depression, helplessness and isolation. At this point, they are in most need of support and company.
Witnessing a loved one go through a traumatizing experience caused by a crime can also affect your emotional and mental vulnerabilities as you try to figure out how to provide the best care possible. However, simple but helpful things can help you hold space and be there for them. These may include:
Listening intently and empathetically
Being there to listen and being as empathetic as possible is an effective way to hold space for a loved one. It may be hard to fathom how tough things are for them internally, but listening to them if they need to vent can go a long way.
When they vent, try not to probe further about the events. Allow them to share information that they are comfortable sharing. Most of all, avoid giving unsolicited advice or remarks that can be misconstrued as victim blaming. Your best bet is to just listen to them and be present.
Giving them reassurance
While giving unsolicited advice is not a good move, reassuring and affirming words can help. Some of the reassuring remarks you can say may include:
- “I hear you, and I am here for you.”
- “You are not alone in this. We are in this together.”
- “We can process this together.”
- “I am proud of you for staying strong. It is okay to not be okay.”
- “Your feelings are valid.”
When spoken sincerely, these words can go a long way. While being mindful of the trauma they experienced, you can also offer a consensual hug or a reassuring grip on their hands if they are comfortable.
Offering to help with errands
Trauma from experiencing a crime can debilitate a victim. This can make them unable to do even simple errands. Some of the help you can offer can include:
- Scheduling medical appointments for them and accompanying them
- Driving for them
- Cleaning their house
- Washing the dishes
- Cooking a warm meal
- Getting groceries
- Walking their dog
If they feel ashamed to get help, reassure them that it is okay and that you sincerely want to be there for them. Doing these tasks may also help them see that they are not alone.
Keeping them company
Sometimes, your mere presence is enough for them not to feel alone. Difficult emotions can sometimes make people want to stay silent and still. If they need space and silence to process their thoughts and feelings, it is okay to let them be. Reassure them that they do not need to go through it alone. Even if they cannot articulate themselves, remind them you are there to help to the best of your abilities.