Rape survivors need to be heard.
How would you want to be treated if you went to someone for help? Give them the most compassion and unconditional love you can channel from your innermost being. That’s the best way to support them.
To shift from our current rape culture and into a culture of consent, we must change the mindless, go-to reactions that we have toward victims of sexual abuse.
Why is it common to ask, “Was she drunk?” Why do people inquire about what someone was wearing at the time of a sexual assault?
It’s common because society has taught us to judge instead of love. In a culture of consent, the mindset is different.
In a culture of consent, we know that it doesn’t matter if someone was drinking. No one deserves rape.
In a culture of consent, there is less blame and more compassion. Compassion is key when it comes to creating a culture of consent.
Compassion in a culture of consent means extending unconditional love to sexual assault survivors. We can no longer live as we are as a society. The time for change is now.
To implement this cultural shift, we can only start with ourselves, our thoughts, and our reactions toward rape survivors.
The following list is to help you take one major step in that direction.
44 Things to NEVER Say to a Rape Survivor
1. What were you wearing?
2. Were you drunk?
3. How did it happen? (Ask them if they are comfortable with sharing what happened. Listen mindfully and don’t oversteer their story. Respect how they share their story. Refrain from interrupting so they know they have the freedom to express themselves. This question is only necessary for law enforcement officials and healthcare professionals who are required to know the details in order to help the survivor.)
4. Did you scream?
5. Why didn’t you scream?
6. You really need to get a gun.
7. I know a self-defence class that you should go to.
8. Your outfit was very sexy.
9. How could that happen to you, again?
10. Did you say “no”?
11. Did you fight back?
12. You’ve already had sex, so, what’s the difference?
13. You’re a guy, you’re supposed to like it.
14. Rape is every guy’s dream. (A girl said this to me while I was chalking in NYC in 2015.)
15. How can a girl rape a boy?
16. Rape can’t happen during marriage.
17. There’s no use in crying about it.
18. You need to let go of your anger.
19. Are you sure it was rape?
20. Weren’t you dating?
21. Why didn’t you get a rape kit?
22. Have you had sex since?
23. You should have yelled “fire.”
24. Why haven’t you reported it?
25. I thought you liked him/her/them.
26. It’s your fault.
27. You shouldn’t have gone with them.
28. You were asking for it.
29. You attracted that.
30. You led them on.
31. That’s not rape.
32. That was sex. You could have avoided it.
33. You should have protected yourself.
34. You shouldn’t have been out late.
35. You shouldn’t have been drinking.
36. You shouldn’t have gone to that party.
37. That would never happen to me.
38. You’re smarter than that.
39. Stop putting yourself in situations like that.
40. It could be worse.
41. Get over it.
42. It’s not that big of a deal.
43. I hope you learned your lesson.
44. There are some things you could have done differently.
Instead of blaming or shaming someone who has been traumatised, hold back those thoughts. Focus only on how you can be a friend to them in their time of need. If they came to you for help, it means that they trusted you.
Sexual assault recovery can be catapulted when the rape survivor has a loving, supportive team of people who they can go to in times of need.
How can you create this type of safe space for the sexual assault survivors in your life? How can you create this safe space for yourself?
(Thank you Amber Amour for this article who is a holistic healer and life coach that specialises in working with sexual assault survivors from all walks of life)