21 Things Every Survivor Of Sexual Assault Wishes You Knew

It's hard to know how to act and what to say, but there are some good guidelines.

  1. 1

    We need you to know that what happened to us wasn’t our fault.

  2. 2

    And it is extremely hurtful when people suggest that we could have prevented it.

  3. 3

    Sexual assault has nothing to do with how someone is dressed or where they are going. It can happen anywhere and to anyone.

  4. 4

    Believe our story. Never tell us we’re exaggerating or misunderstanding the situation.

  5. 5

    And don’t tell us we’re overreacting.

  6. 6

    If we want to share our experience with you, we will. Please don’t ask us for all the details.

  7. 7

    DO tell us that you’re here for us, we need all the support we can get.

  8. 8

    You can provide us with information about how to seek physical and emotional care.

  9. 9

    But don’t try to solve all out problems for us. We’ve already had our control stolen from us, give us the space to regain it.

  10. 10

    In fact, don’t worry that you have nothing to say. Sometimes just being there - even if you're quiet - is enough of a statement.

  11. 11

    DON’T assume that we are afraid of being touched now. We might be needing a hug, so feel free to offer one.

  12. 12

    Please don’t tell us to ‘forgive and forget’ or to ‘get over it.’ We all have to heal at our own pace.

  13. 13

    If our story makes you uncomfortable, just tell us.

    Acting weird around us isn’t helpful for you or us.

  14. 14

    Consider your own limitations.

    Knowing when you can't help us is much more productive than trying anyway and growing frustrated.

  15. 15

    If you do grow frustrated in the process of helping, that’s totally normal. Please don’t take it out on us.

  16. 16

    Don’t ever guilt or pressure anyone into reporting an assault.

    You can encourage it, but it’s a decision we need to make for ourselves.

  17. 17

    Men can be raped too. So DON’T imply that their experience is “fake” or “not as bad.”

  18. 18

    DON'T treat our experience like a dirty secret.

    Remember: we’re experiencing a lot of shame without you giving us additional reasons!

  19. 19

    But please do respect our privacy. Our story is ours to share.

  20. 20

    Patience and support of loved ones is what makes healing possible.

  21. 21

    Thank you for being a friend during hard times!

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