When someone discloses to you about their sexual assault, you are hearing the story in one of the most vulnerable situations ever. Disclosing to someone is never easy. Your response could shape how they decide to deal with their trauma. I am here to help you know what to say and what not to say.
Here are examples of things to say to a sexual assault survivor…
“I believe you.” /“You’re so brave for sharing this with me.”
Always start by believing. Reiterate that it takes a lot of courage to disclose this information to someone. There is a stigma around being sexually assaulted and coming forward is extremely difficult due to the fear of people not believing you.
“It’s not your fault.”
Because it’s not. This goes back to what I said before, no one deserves to be sexually assaulted. Survivors often blame themselves when it comes to these situations even though it has nothing to do with their decisions at all. This is especially true in cases where the survivor knew her perpetrator.