In Honor Of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Here's 5 Things To Never Say To A Survivor
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

In Honor Of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Here's 5 Things To Never Say To A Survivor

We are not victims, we are survivors.

poster reading "boys will be held accountable"

Content warning: This article contains mentions of sexual assault.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), which means it's time to recognize how we can better support survivors. After my assault, many well-intended friends said things that have caused more harm than help. If someone finds the courage to share their story with you---feel honored that they trust you. Instead of trying to advice or judge---listen. Consolidation and support are always welcome, but please refrain from saying these five things to someone who has experienced sexual assault.

1. Why didn't you fight back?

It's a known fact that when facing trauma, the brain initiates what's known as "the freeze response." This quite literally paralyzes someone in fear. Even if someone has the ability to fight back---it might not be safe to do so. I guarantee the survivor did everything they could to make it through the moment.

2. I know them. They would never do that. 

Okay, so maybe this person has never caused harm to you. But it does not mean they are incapable of sexually assaulting someone else. Believe someone when they tell you they experienced sexual assault.

3. Why did you go there?

More than half of all assaults are committed by someone known to the survivor. Going to someone's house/apartment is not "asking for it." Hanging out with someone you perceive to be your friend is not an invitation to be groped. It is never the survivor's fault.

4. Boys will be boys.

No. Stop allowing boys and men to get away with criminal acts because "that's just how they behave." Do better.

5. But you said yes before. 

Consent can be withdrawn at any time. Just because this person is a significant other and/or you've agreed to certain sexual acts before does not mean you are entitled to be used at any time. No means no. "I'm not sure" and "maybe" also do not equal yes. Consent is freely and clearly given.

Unfortunately, it's estimated that every 73 seconds someone is sexually assaulted in America. When someone shares their story with you, do not take this privilege lightly. It is not your place to judge. Don't assume fault. Just listen and say, "I'm here for you."

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, visit RAINN or contact 1-800-656-HOPE.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Take a look at the articles driving big conversations on Odyssey.


At Odyssey, we're on a mission to encourage constructive discourse on the Internet. That's why we created the response button you can find at the bottom of every article.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

Holidays With A Small Family

I wouldn't trade what we have for the world.

Matt Johnsn

When I was a kid I always went to my grandparents house whenever we celebrated any sort of holiday. We were a decently sized family and it was always a blessing to be in their house and surrounded by love during the holiday season. However, that all changed when my grandfather passed away and my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The family then began to drift apart and life went on, and we ended up all celebrating our own holidays with other family members.

Keep Reading... Show less

Safe Spaces Or Regressive Spaces?

Turns out shielding yourself from ideas can be detrimental to your ability to learn


College is a place for people who want to learn. That is the primary function of any academic institution. Its purpose is not to coddle us, nor should the community always be in agreement with us. We are supposed to surround ourselves with a variety of viewpoints that challenge us to learn, not the same repetitive points of view that make us happy.

Keep Reading... Show less

Black Friday is back to being Black Friday

This year, malls are standing up against Black Friday beginning on Thanksgiving. Doors won't be opening until Friday morning.


Last week my twitter feed was full of exclamations of how excited people were that our local mall, Westmoreland Mall would be closed on Thanksgiving Day this year. For those who work during the busy holiday days and hours, a celebration was in order. For the die-hard deal finders and shoppers though, they didn’t seem very happy.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Is Thrift Shopping *Actually* Ethical?

There's been a recent boom in the popularity of vintage style looks and up-cycling thrifted finds to sell at, usually, an outrageous price. Is this ethical? Or does it defeat the whole purpose of thrifting in the first place?

Is Thrift Shopping *Actually* Ethical?

One day, I was scrolling through Twitter and came across a tweet about upper-middle-class class people thrift shopping. I personally was against the up cycling/re-selling trend because I thought it to be greedy. Then, I began to see more and more tweets, and then stated to see ones about those who buy thrifted, name brand items and sell them for what they're actually worth instead of the very low price they got them for.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments