THINGS YOU *SHOULD* DO/SAY TO SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED
A follow up to this THINGS YOU SHOULDN'T DO/SAY TO SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED This is a difficult list because I've had more experience with people treating me badly/not understanding how to behave around me regarding my rape than I have people being positive and supportive (excl. @hannii cause she's a true life angel). Also thanks to @catharuin for the request!!!
- •Let them say everything they have to say without interruptionI know whenever I tell someone I tend to speak very quickly and run sentences together. It's very nice when someone just let's me speak and say everything I have to.
- •Listen to themWith an open mind. Try to take in all of what they're saying to you as truth.
- •"I believe you"Big one. It's so easy to fill your head with doubt because victim blaming is so socialised and conditioned into us that just hearing someone say out loud that they believe you is so affirming.
- •Make them feel heardOk so I know almost all of these are the exact same sentiment reworded but honestly if that doesn't scream out how important this is then basically just fuck off. Harsh, but if you can't/refuse to understand how important it is to support someone who has experienced sexual trauma through listening to them then you're not worthy of their trust.
- •Encourage them to seek helpBut don't pressure them. Everyone seeks help in their own time. Just because they were ready to tell you doesn't mean they're ready to contact the authorities or speak to a psychologist/therapist
- •Respect their personal boundariesThese boundaries have already been violated. Give them space while making it known that you are here for them. Let them reestablish what physical or emotional boundaries they are comfortable with and respect said boundaries.
- •Keep their secretObviously in some circumstances you need to tell someone, for their own safety. However, if someone has been brave enough to share their own personal trauma with you, don't treat it as gossip.
- •Shut down any possible gossip/bullying they may be the victim ofFortunately as an adult I didn't experience this. If you are in highschool and rumours of rape/"false rape accusations" are going around, SHUT THEM DOWN. This is revictimising to someone who has already experienced a violent trauma. Don't let someone be bullied for something they did not choose to happen to them. Always believe the victim over the abuser.
- •"It was not/is not your fault"I had to be told this by several people before I started to believe I wasn't somehow partly to blame. It was so important for my mental healthSuggested by @femme_brewer