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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