What do YOU say to someone who has been raped….

I had the most awful moment of awkward silence a few months back, a woman whom I had been speaking to and counselling about her career and job – just blurted“I was raped…”

This is a 23 year old woman who has been struggling to hold down 1 job and juggle a possible degree! She has always had this haunted and almost vacant look about her – which I could never explain!

The discussion that day was me scolding her for not taking her life seriously – and I was actually reprimanding her – when she had been bunking her evening classes….

And she said the “R” word – and that lead me to the discovery that I lacked the vocabulary to speak to her!

So WHAT should you say/not say or do/not do when someone close to you or someone comes up and says “I was raped….”

                                                                         A woman in PAIN!

  1. Say NOTHING for the first few mins – and encourage her to speak. The best you can add is “OMG” and just hold her hand.
  2. DO NOT say you understand – YOU don’t and can’t possibly understand if you haven’t been raped.
  3. Do not speak of kismat and fate – thats like telling someone that she was fated to “die a slow death”
  4. Do not ask WHO raped you – allow her to tell you if she wants to
  5. Do not ask HOW it happened! Accept that it just did…. and if she wishes to tell you – let her…
  6. Definitely do NOT pepper your conversation with “what were you wearing” or “what time it was”
  7. You need not ask if she has told anyone else – she will express it herself
  8. Remember you a dealing with a very raw emotion – which is almost animal like in its nature…. a wounded animal. This conversation YOU are having is NOT something she or you planned…. so go with the flow….
  9. HOLD HER HAND! Thats it…. no hug till she wants it….
  10. Ask her WHAT you can do to help…. and let her tell you…

I had this moment – and it took me sometime to snap into a sensible conversation…. only to kick myself into thinking – oh god….what the hell am I saying….

A little about me – I have been working with wounded and battered women for the last 8 years…. and YET I find it near impossible to get the right words out each time….everytime….

Each day and each experience with a woman who has been battered and abused is NEW….

There is NO FAQ of what exactly to react…..BUT these are some guidelines…..

You are dealing with a wounded bird – be gentle!

May You Have the Strength to Make that Wounded Bird Fly Again!




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