Thursday, November 12, 2009

Things Not to Say to a Survivor

There are things that will “trigger” or upset a survivor. Most people don’t have a clue what to say or do. I am still me. I am just hurt. These things are not hard to avoid, and yet I have heard many of them. Please...
  • Don't ask if I liked it. No one likes being physically overpowered.
  • Don't tell me how I could have avoided it. Believe me, if I could have prevented it, I would have. I made the best choices I could. It’s not my fault. Please help me learn to realize that.
  • Don’t blame me for what happened.
  • Don't tell me it would never happen to you and why. I didn’t think I would become a statistic either.
  • God isn’t punishing me for some misdeed by allowing this to happen.
  • Don’t tell me it was "God’s will" I was raped. It IS God’s will I survived!
  • Don’t tell me that survivors make up tales for attention. According to The National Coalition Against Sexual Assault, false rape reports only happen 2% of the time. That’s a 98% chance that no matter how strange it sounds to you, the rape isn’t being fabricated.
  • Don’t tell me not to talk about it. Yes, it upsets me to talk about it, but that is the only way I can sort through it.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to me when I'm upset. Knowing you are there is sometimes just what I need.
  • Don’t say “other people have it worse off than you”. I’m not “other people”. I’m me.
  • Don’t feel you need to retaliate against my attacker. I know he is capable of violence. Please don’t make me worry about you getting hurt. I’ll feel more secure knowing you’ll remain in one piece.
  • Don’t tell me to “get over it”. I would if I could. I am trying my best.
  • Don’t tell me to "put what happened out of my mind". It’s not that simple.
  • Don’t tell me “it’s no big deal”. Rape is an enormous challenge to heal from. It haunts me.
  • If we disagree about safety issues in the future, please realize that what may sound strange to you helps me feel safe.
  • Don’t tell me I am weak because it impacts my life. I am stronger than words can describe.
  • Don’t ask me what you're supposed to do to get past what happened to us. I'm not sure what I'm going to do.
  • Don’t ask me if I did this on purpose. I didn’t do anything except survive.
  • Don’t tell me that it’s not rape because I knew him. Numerous studies say that perpetrators are more likely to be known than unknown.
  • If you give me a hug and I pull away, please, know that I'm not rejecting you. Please don’t get mad. Tell me you care. Chances are you’ll get that hug after all!
  • If we’re together and I have a flashback, try not to be mad. I hate the darned things too! Flashbacks are always rough. It’s difficult to know what to do. It has to be difficult to watch. Anger should go to the one who caused the rape.
  • If I become suicidal, please don’t take that as a sign of weakness. Take that as a sign I'm overwhelmed, trying to cope, and need help.
  • Don’t get the idea rape just happens to “those” kinds of people. This crime happens to as many as 1 woman in 4 crossing ethnic, racial, economic and social boundaries.
(Taken from

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that last statistic really surprised me. 1 in 4 women experiencing rape seems really high. That's really scary.

    I'll try to not say any of those hurtful things. Sorry if I ever say insensitive things. I promise I'm not trying to be insensitive.