How To Respond To Someone Who Opens Up To You About Their Sexual Assault Experience​

How To Respond To Someone Who Opens Up To You About Their Sexual Assault Experience​

Don't just say, "It will be okay," because to them, it may never be.

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Content warning: sexual assault

In the United States, one in three women and one in six men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.

These men and women may be your coworkers, your siblings, your classmates, or even your best friends. If they trust you enough to open up about the terrible act of sexual assault committed against them, it can be hard to know what to say and how to assist them. In order to help them with their healing process, it is crucial to remember a few things.

First things first: they trust you. These victims would not open up about such awful experiences if they didn't think you were able to help them heal in some way. With this being said, keep an open mind and attentively listen to what they have to say.

Don't interrupt them, and don't dismiss their feelings. Listen to everything they have to say until the very end... and then some. Acknowledge their voice and make sure they know that their story is important.

Survivors of sexual assault are exhausted from opening up to people who don't respond with an open heart, so give them every inch of support you have.

Do not override their feelings and experiences with your own. This is a time to hear their story, not yours. If you mention your own experiences, make sure to do it in a way that doesn't undermine theirs.

They want you to hear their voice and curving their trauma experiences only makes it seem like what happened to them doesn't matter in the big scheme of things.

When talking to a survivor of sexual assault, there are certain things to say and certain things not to say. Giving advice and support can start the healing process, but sometimes the advice we give doesn't always come across the way we intend it to.

Saying phrases like, "You'll be OK," or "You'll heal with time," may seem like words of comfort, but for someone who has just experienced trauma, it can feel very insensitive. Although you believe in them and want them to be OK, they may not feel okay at the time. They may not feel OK ever again. What happened to them is real, and causes long term repercussions.

If someone opens up to you about their sexual assault experience, keep your ears open and your heart accessible. They aren't wanting you to fix them, they're wanting you to hear them.

And that is just enough.


Literally, so hot RN

Literally, so hot RN

6 Things You Learn Living With Your Boyfriend For The First Time, All Within, Like, 500 Square Feet

Love is patient, love is kind.

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Last summer, my boyfriend and I were at a crossroads in our relationship.

At the time, we had been together for over a year and a half, and I had just made the decision to move seven hours away to Los Angeles to finish school. Realizing we didn't want to spend the next two years apart from each other, we made the huge decision to move in together in the new city.

While living with my partner has had its ups and downs, I've learned a lot about our relationship. Here are six of the biggest lessons I've learned while living with my boyfriend for the first time.

1. There is such a thing as too much time together.

Most of the time we can't get enough of each other, but there are times when we definitely need some alone time. Spending all hours of the day cuddling on the couch can feel super good sometimes, but in order to keep our relationship healthy, we have realized that it is important to have outside interests, hobbies, responsibilities, and friends. This just makes it so much sweeter to come back home to each other at the end of the day.

2. Our relationship won't always be "50-50."

In an ideal world, we would split all of our mutual responsibilities equally. However, the real world is messy, and sometimes one of us needs to pull more weight than the other. When I'm sick, my boyfriend has no problem doing the laundry and dishes and then lavishing me with back rubs in bed. And when he's working long hours or having a hard day, I will do the same for him. In the end, we both care and love for each other equally, and that's all that matters.

3. We have different ideas about cleanliness.

I'll admit, I'm a bit of a neat freak. My boyfriend is by no means a dirty person, but little things like leaving shoes and clothes lying around bother me a little more than they should. Part of living together has been learning to accept one another's natural tendencies, being patient, and compromising. While my boyfriend still has a tendency to leave things scattered about, he has learned to be more conscientious, and I have learned to relax (a little).

4. Having different schedules can be challenging.

While my days tend to begin pretty early in the mornings, my boyfriend works night shifts, so it can be difficult to schedule mutual activities together, particularly SLEEP. However, the longer we've been together, the better we've been able to accept these differences and work around them. I'm okay with the few hours cuddling in bed together each night, especially because I know this is only temporary.

5. Living together is surprisingly easy.

One of the best things I have found from living with my significant other is that it is actually REALLY EASY. Sometimes I'll hear those nightmare stories about couples who move in together, only to find out that their lifestyles aren't compatible at all. I've been really lucky to find someone who lives so harmoniously with me. For the most part, my boyfriend and I work perfectly together, and that's one of the ways I know he's a keeper.

6. Our relationship is only growing stronger.

Honestly, my boyfriend and I might as well be married already, because the more we learn about one another, the closer we become. I love living with my boyfriend, I love being with him, and I have a feeling that we'll be together forever. Cohabitation is a beautiful thing, and it's one of the most important ways to figure out or wants and needs in a relationship. I just feel lucky I've found my number one.

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If He Says 'You Make Me Want To Be A Better Person,' Remember It's NOT A Compliment

No one should be relying on another person to make them better people.

bethkrat
bethkrat
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A lot of us have been there; he smiles at you sweetly, gives you a look that could melt your heart, and you let yourself fall into the kindness.

He tells you, "you're such a good person; you make me want to be better."

Your heart is a flutter, you're drowning in the sickly sweetness of what you take as one of the nicest things someone has ever told you. It's so easy to read it as though it's an admirable thing for anyone to say, but the reality is, no one should be held liable for making you want to be a decent human being except yourself.

It's one thing for people to bring out the best in each other.

When you find your happy place in the company of the people you love most in life, that's one of the greatest things in the world. That example of the "bettering" of one another comes organically. But to only find a desire to be kinder, more selfless, more decent because another person is kind, selfless, and decent is putting way too much liability on the other person, and it means not taking responsibility for yourself.

By telling me that I'm the reason he wants to be a better person, he's putting me on a pedestal that I cannot possibly live up to all the time.

He's holding me liable for his desire to stop his negative behaviors rather than it coming from a true desire to be better. If being with me or around me is the only reason he's decided he needs to get his act together and start being a decent human being, I'm here to tell him that he should really reevaluate.

Because what happens when we break up?

What happens if we have a falling out for some reason or another, and I'm not longer in his life to "inspire" him to be better? His desire to be better disappears alongside me, because his desire never really came from his heart anyway. He go back to the same negative behavior that he had in the first place unless he came come to the realization that being a good person has to come from a real desire within.

I don't have the time to pander to people who can't take responsibility for their actions.

It shouldn't have to be my job to show anyone what being a decent human being looks like. His parents should have instilled that in him when they were raising him, and if not that, he should have been able to recognize elsewhere what kindness and decency looked like in other people so that he could emulate it himself. If he's a grown adult who says he didn't recognize what being good meant until he met you, that says more about him than it does about you.

The point of all of this is simple; it is an extremely important life lesson to learn that you are not responsible for anyone's actions and feelings except for your own.

You are not accountable for the decisions someone else makes, and that's the truth. No one is dating someone with the intent on raising him and teaching him how to behave or exist as a functionally member of society, and no one should have to.

I'm not saying it's a red flag to hear it. Often times it is said with good intentions and sometimes it is meant in the organic sort of way I mentioned before. But my advice if you're ever told this; think about it. Consider it a pink flag, one that makes you do some evaluating before you smile bigly and accept the comment as though it is a badge of honor.

Above all, hold people responsible for their own actions and don't let them make you feel responsible instead.

bethkrat
bethkrat

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