The proper response.


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The proper response.


				<![CDATA[<a href="http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1117658" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Original here.</a>]]>

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.

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