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Know a Victim of Sexual Assault? What to Say and Not to Say

Don’t say:

  • I know how you feel.
  • I understand.
  • You’re lucky that ___________.
  • It’ll take some time, but you’ll get over it.
  • Tell me more details about what happened.
  • I can imagine how you feel.
  • Don’t worry, it’s going to be all right.
  • Try to be strong.
  • Out of tragedies, good things happen.
  • Time heals all wounds.
  • It was God’s will.
  • You need to forgive and move on.
  • Calm down and try to relax.
  • You should get on with your life.

Do Say:

  • I believe you.
  • Thank you for telling me.
  • How can I help?
  • I’m glad you’re talking with me.
  • I’m glad you’re safe now.
  • It wasn’t your fault.
  • Your reaction is not an uncommon response.
  • It’s understandable you feel that way.
  • You’re not going crazy; these are normal reactions.
  • Things may not ever be the same, but they can get better.
  • It’s OK to cry.
  • I can’t imagine how terrible your experience must have been.
  • I’m sorry this happened to you.

From Rid of My Disgrace by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb.

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July 26, 2011 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Life / Doctrine,The Christian Life,Trials / Suffering | Author: Angie Cheatham @ 8:44 am | (3) Comments »


  1. I have been going through and teaching the 13 lessons from Tripp’s book, “Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands.” Though he does not use sexual assault as an example, the aspects of personal ministry and incarnating Christ to others is very similar to the posted statements you make above.

    As one working on my PhD in Christian Counseling, I cannot thank you enough for this post. Many often walk away from “entering the world of others” because they are afraid of what they will say…thus leaving the person alone to fend for themselves.

    Thank you, thank you!

    Chris R.
    Houston, Texas

    Comment by Chris R — July 27, 2011 @ 9:20 am

  2. The number one most comforting thing to hear: I’m so sorry this happened to you. Sometimes it’s enough just to have someone be there and be sorry, even if they have no idea how you feel.

    Comment by Jaye — July 27, 2011 @ 10:03 am

  3. This is priceless information. Words are powerful written or verbal. Its great to know how some words can be warm, sensitive, and inviting to someone’s heart. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Comment by Blanche — March 4, 2012 @ 1:02 am

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