On October 2017, the social media was taken by a campaign that promoted the hashtag “Me too.” The “Me too” movement or “#MeToo” spread virally across the globe. It was a call to everyone out there who faced sexual assault or rape.
Everyone was stunned to see the huge magnitude of this problem. Men and women from across the globe shared this hashtag on their social media profile to show the roots of this problem. There were hundreds of celebrities who joined this campaign too.
Along with exposure to the problem, there was another aspect that simultaneously occurred. Friends and family of individuals who confirmed they have been a victim of rape or sexual assault were clueless about how to communicate. Here are 14 things you should never ever say to someone who went through such a dismaying experience.
1. Why were you out so late?
Sadly, we still live in a time when this question is often asked to the victims. Rape doesn’t depend on the time of the day but on the mentality of the attacker.
2. Can’t you get over it?
It was not a bad breakup or professional setback, it’s one of the worst possible ways someone can break your inner self. Eventually, many get over it but they do it in their own time.
3. Boys will be boys
We can’t even begin to explain all the things that are wrong with this sentence. The only thing we hope is that people will start teaching their boys not to rape rather than asking girls not to get raped.
4. What were you wearing?
If clothes were the reason for sexual assault or rape, then infants would be safe. There wouldn’t be instances of kids getting raped or molested.
5. Men don’t get raped
No, sexual assault is not something that is applicable to the female gender. In fact, people identifying with any sexuality can face this horrifying experience. Due to social stereotypes, men often step back and don’t open up about their assault.
6. Did you enjoy a little?
As crude and unbelievable it sounds, there are many who believes that rape or sexual assault is ultimately a form of physical closeness. They often assume that the victim eventually ends up liking it. Thanks to unrealistic pornographic videos, that notion is on a rise.
7. Were you drunk?
If you are drunk and someone steals Rs. 1000 from your purse, will you call it a theft? Of course! The same logic applies in cases of sexual assault or rape. Any sexual encounter without proper consent is a crime.
8. Why didn’t you tell me before?
It takes a lot of courage to open up about such incidents. It’s mainly because rape or sexual assault makes the victim think that it’s their fault and they are overwhelmed. They take their own time and mind frame to open up. When they do, the only thing you can do is listening to what they have to share.
9. It could have been worse
True, but everyone fights their own battles. Any experience of sexual assault is harrowing and it’s better not to compare stories. It’s an insult to the suffering of the person in concern.
10. I understand
Unless you have been in a similar situation, you don’t! So, do not ever say that to someone who is a victim of rape or sexual assault.
11. Why didn’t you report it?
There are many reasons why someone chooses not to notify the authorities. A victim undergoes the whole experience repeatedly, thanks to authorities and society. Not to forget victim-shaming is not a myth but a crude reality. Also, often the fear overpowers their desire for justice.
12. Why didn’t you fight back?
It’s very easy to ask that question but almost impossible to comprehend the wave of emotions that someone feels at that point. It’s violation of someone’s inner space which evokes fear, shame, disgust, helplessness, and pain at the same time. Most of the times the attacker is physically stronger which makes it tougher.
13. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Not always! When someone is sexually assaulted or raped, feeling a cluster of emotions is a natural process. However, it doesn’t mean that every one of the victims will recover from the trauma in a stronger way. Everyone reacts in different ways.
14. Are you sure?
Nothing can be more painful when a person decides to open up to you and this is the question you pose.
In most of the situations, you do not need to say anything other than conveying that you are with them. Your shoulder and silence are the best support you can provide to those who went through this hellish journey.
Do you have something more to add? Comment below.