Humans have a tendency to be insensitive, and especially so when it comes to knowing what is and is not alright to say to a survivor of sexual abuse. Here are eight things you should absolutely never say:
1. “Are you sure?”
Don’t ever question a person when they talk to you about assault. It is already hard enough for them to open up about something so awful, so do not make it harder by questioning the validity of what they’re telling you.
2. “Maybe you shouldn’t have been wearing that outfit.”
Regardless of whether a person is wearing a mini-skirt or a fully covered T-shirt and jeans, the way a person dresses never justifies a person assaulting them.
3. “You should not have had so much to drink.”
Similar to attire, just because a person is intoxicated does not mean they are giving someone permission to assault them.
4. “Didn’t you know it’s dangerous to go out late at night?”
Again, victim-blaming. Going out late at night isn’t the problem here, it is rapists that are the problem.
5. “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.”
Except that’s not always true. What doesn’t kill you could also emotionally and mentally scar you – it’s different for every person.
6. “You will get over it.”
Again, every person copes in different ways and at different paces – saying this to a survivor will never help.
7. “Are you sure you weren’t flirting with him?”
Talking to or flirting with a person does not equal consent, and therefore, this question is irrelevant.
8. “Boys will be boys.”
The number one statement that perpetuates rape culture. This is an excuse that people need to stop using. Now. Instead of letting them off the hook, start holding people accountable for their actions, regardless of their gender.