The proper response.

Trig­ger warn­ing: sex­u­al assault, rape.

When some­one tells you that they have been sex­u­al­ly assault­ed, harassed, molest­ed, raped, or any­thing of the sort, the prop­er response is to say, “I’m so sor­ry. It wasn’t your fault. What hap­pened to you was rep­re­hen­si­ble, and no one should be forced to go through that. What can I do to be there for you? Do you want to report it to the police? I will be with you every step of the way, no mat­ter what you do. You’re not alone.”

If you have any doubts about whether or not they are telling the truth, the prop­er response is still the same as the above. Do not voice your lack of con­cern. Do not voice or oth­er­wise show your increduli­ty. Be noth­ing short of sup­port­ive.

Because it takes a lot for assault vic­tims to speak out about what hap­pened to them. It hurts. It’s ter­ri­fy­ing. They’re plagued with doubt, fear, shame, guilt, inde­scrib­able pain and con­fu­sion. It’s a part of them­selves that is so dif­fi­cult to bear, let alone share.

Because so many peo­ple have made it clear that it should remain a secret pain. That no wrong was done. That it may have been their fault. Or maybe it didn’t even hap­pen, or at least wasn’t that bad.

They don’t need your apa­thy. They don’t need you to ques­tion their ver­sion of the events (if they go to court, it’ll hap­pen there in spades). They need your sup­port. That’s why they came to you in the first place.

Also, if a minor is in any way involved — whether a minor is the one con­fid­ing in you, or there are minors at risk — go to the police imme­di­ate­ly, whether you are a manda­to­ry reporter or not. And inci­den­tal­ly, in many states every adult is a manda­to­ry reporter (Mary­land being one of them).

Chris­tians in par­tic­u­lar, I beg of you to help the abused who may trust you and come to you. Weep with them. Help them bear their bur­den. Become a safe place for them. Be Jesus to them.

12 Comments

  1. moonchild11 on May 18, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    I love this one!

  2. moonchild11 on December 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I love this one!

  3. ~ Sil in Corea on May 18, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    And, for God’s sake, don’t ask if they enjoyed it, like my hus­band asked me! Need­less to say, the mar­riage was doomed at that point.

    • Dani on May 18, 2018 at 8:38 pm

      Yikes! You’re right, that’s a hor­ri­ble thing to ask. Same with, “Well, did you do any­thing to invite it?” Sen­si­tiv­i­ty and sup­port are cru­cial.

  4. ~ Sil in Corea on December 9, 2011 at 10:24 am

    And, for God’s sake, don’t ask if they enjoyed it, like my hus­band asked me! Need­less to say, the mar­riage was doomed at that point.

    • Dani on December 9, 2011 at 10:29 am

      Yikes! You’re right, that’s a hor­ri­ble thing to ask. Same with, “Well, did you do any­thing to invite it?” Sen­si­tiv­i­ty and sup­port are cru­cial.

  5. Your Friend on May 18, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Very good blog, Dani! Per­haps your gift of expres­sion in writ­ing is for this very thing. To min­is­ter to those hurt by this hor­rif­ic sin! Love, Granny K

    • Dani on May 18, 2018 at 8:39 pm

      (hugs) Thanks, Granny. Love you.

  6. Your Friend on March 22, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Very good blog, Dani! Per­haps your gift of expres­sion in writ­ing is for this very thing. To min­is­ter to those hurt by this hor­rif­ic sin! Love, Granny K

    • Dani on March 23, 2012 at 10:30 am

      (hugs) Thanks, Granny. Love you.

  7. Alena@TheHomemadeCreative on May 18, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you, this is excel­lent. A relat­ed note would be that if some­one tells you that they have PTSD, the prop­er response does not include telling them that “real peo­ple with PTSD” can’t live nor­mal lives, so the fact that you man­age to func­tion some­what nor­mal­ly 70% of the time means you don’t have it, and sim­ply don’t like to work and are look­ing for pity and atten­tion.

  8. Alena@TheHomemadeCreative on September 3, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Thank you, this is excel­lent. A relat­ed note would be that if some­one tells you that they have PTSD, the prop­er response does not include telling them that “real peo­ple with PTSD” can’t live nor­mal lives, so the fact that you man­age to func­tion some­what nor­mal­ly 70% of the time means you don’t have it, and sim­ply don’t like to work and are look­ing for pity and atten­tion.

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