I know you have been reading sexual trauma and healing blogs on this website and hopefully you have become aware, promoted prevention, found healing, and speak on punishment. Now, as with many taboo topics that are becoming easily digestible by the society at large, due to new information there are some past acceptable etiquette about topics that are NOT tolerated nor excused today. This also applies to how we respond to conversations about sexual assault. Let me help you help yourself take your foot out your mouth before you do so.
1.) What happened to you was so long ago, just get over it!
Not only is this comment insensitive but it puts the blame on the survivor NOT the predator. FYI being molested is not the same as falling off a bike and getting a scar. Molestation is an act that stays with the survivor for years and it will take the survivor years to heal from the damage. So before you find yourself being cussed out, don't respond to someone sharing their molestation experience as an experience to "get over."
2.) I don't know, are you sure it happened?
Questioning a survivor of sexual trauma is the equivalent as dismissing his or her trauma and indirectly calling him or her a liar and saying their perpetrator isn't capable of sexual violence. If you don't know about this person's experience, don't try to. The best thing you could so is say you empathize with them and ask if they need support from a counselor who can better assist them.
3.) If you keep talking about it you won't ever heal.
Umm wrong! The best thing for a survivor is to talk about it because trauma without a source to release itself will manifest in different ways. This is why there is such a thing called therapy and hotlines. Now, if you don't have the patience to listen to someone who've experienced sexual trauma speak about it or you feel uncomfortable about this subject it's best that you suggest a counseling because a psychologist is better equipped to help.
4.) You're a trooper, what doesn't break you makes you stronger!
No, just stop. I get that you're trying to put a positive spin on rape but there is NO bright side. The best thing the survivor can do is heal and tell his or her truth to encourage other survivors to seek healing and assist with bring awareness to society by again speaking their truth.
5.) Damn. I could never go through what you went through.
As much as you think this statement is a compliment, it's not. What it sounds like is that you are appreciative that you weren't defiled like the survivor. Instead of putting her foot in your mouth, say nothing at all.
6.) The perpetrator(s) must live with guilt.
This may or may not be true but does the survivor really need to consider the outcome of the life of the predator? No. Telling the survivor that the predator has feelings too or that his or her actions are to be given sympathy is completely disrespectful and dismissing the trauma the survivor carries with him or her for a lifetime because of the perpetrator.
7.) Boys will be boys.
This phrase is total bullshit. Can I say bullshit? Yes. bullshit. When people continue using this phrase to give excuse or remove accountability from the perpetrator it shifts the blame and accountability to the survivor which is wrong. A date rape victim can NEVER be blamed. It is EXTREMELY important that we promote consent and respecting people's bodies. We do this by not imposing our body onto others. This is what we as society should be saying not boys will be boys. Boys without accountability grow up to be menacing men to ALL of society.
8.) You should forgive your abuser.
Forgiveness is a touchy topic because I'm still grasping the full effect of forgiveness. I have been preaching on social media lately about forgiveness but I put it into context. Forgiveness is great for anyone because it relinquishes the emotional ties that you have to the hurt the perpetrator created, HOWEVER, forgiveness is determined by you when you want to. There is no rush nor is it mandatory but if you want my opinion . . . Forgive! So you can let go of anger, bitterness, sadness, resentment etc. With forgiveness comes peace, love, and success but again forgive (if you chose to) on your own terms. It's not about the perpetrator it's about your well-being.
9.) Nine. It’s just sex.
Do I really need to explain why you WILL get slapped? Rape and sex is NOT the same thing. DO you know why? Rape lacks CONSENT whereas sex is giving full fledged CONSENT. Survivors of rape are more likely to have mental health issues, become drug addicts, and commit suicide so tell me again how rape is just sex? Again, the major distinction is consent so before you have sex ask for it and if the person cannot give you it i.e. she or he is drunk just declare sex as a no go. And NO, it doesn't matter if she's your girlfriend, wife, fiance, friends with benefit etc if she doesn't say each and every time yes I want sex than it's automatically no she doesn't want sex. Trust me, being sexually frustrated is a better than being a registered sex offender. Don't push your luck.
10.) He didn't go "all the way" so it's not rape.
Again, no. As I stated in number 9 consent is everything. Sexual assault is not validated by penetration or how long there was penetration or whatever trivial rationalization you try to justify sexual assault. Don't try to give leeway to someone who violated another person. It's not up to you to define the act, if't the victim's choice and not going "all the way" STILL counts.
Thank you for reading the Top 10 Responses You Should NOT Say To A Survivor Of Sexual Assault (Part Un). Check out for Part Deux next week. Please leave your comments and share this article because dismantling these misconceptions will create a safer world and #endrapeculture.
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