Believe what they tell you. Survivors very rarely lie about sexual violence, but often fear people won’t believe them. If they sense disbelief they might never tell anyone again. Traumatic events can sometimes cause memory problems; if she/he ever seems to contradict herself/himself or add new facts, this doesn’t mean they’re making the whole thing up. It could be the brain processing fragments of memory.
Give her/him your unconditional support. If, in your opinion, she/he is not taking the best care of themselves, or making the ‘right’ decisions (e.g. about reporting), do not judge them. Everyone reacts in their own way.
A lot of survivors blame themselves for what was done to them. Its normal after something traumatic to think ‘If only I hadn’t…’, remind them that you don’t think that’s true, but bear in mind that arguing with them probably won’t persuade them. Don’t be frustrated if they believes this for some time.
If she/he feels guilty about e.g. not putting up a fight, affirm the fact that she/he used her/his survival skills to stay alive, and that compliance is not consent. Most women do not put up a fight in order to survive and minimise further harm.
Let them say what they need to say in their own time, in their own words.
If she/he faces difficult decisions, help them to make their own choices by exploring their options with them.