srv: supporting survivors and cosurvivors

supporting a survivor

When you’re a co-survivor – a person supporting a survivor of SRV – remember that, whatever you may feel is the “right” thing to do, the best course of action is the one that feels safe and right to the survivor. Listen compassionately and without judgment, knowing that SRV is never the survivor’s fault!

Part of what makes recovery  following SRV challenging is that often the survivor’s freedom to choose what happens to their own body was taken away. So their support system can help by allowing them to have control over what happens next.

Remember too that many survivors of SRV experience the “freeze” stress response, so that instead of “fight or flight,” their body shuts down.  You might think of this as “going into shock.” It’s a survival response, and it’s a normal physiological reaction to a seriously threatening situation.

self-care as a survivor or cosurvivor

  1. Be kind to your body. Get some exercise. Get some sunlight. Get a hug. Get some sleep.  Hearts heal most efficiently when they’re beating in a healthy body.
  2. Be patient. Whether you’re addressing your own trauma or someone else’s, healing takes time. Everyone moves at a different pace toward recovery, and we don’t get to choose what that pace is. Healing happens gradually and in its own time.
  3. Ask for help. You don’t have to struggle alone. Smith is filled with people who  want you to be safe, happy, and successful. There’s a whole list of offices and phone numbers on the back page of this booklet.



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