Basis the responses received on social media, here is a list of things not to say when someone you know tells you they were raped.
- Ask yourself, “Is my reaction and response basis what I have read in books and seen in movies/Tv shows or do I know other women/men in similar situations?” If it is the latter, you probably don’t need to read further. If it is the former, read this post and take tips.
- Have they confided in you in person? Then understanding, empathy and sympathy is expected. If it has been shared on social media, neither of the above is expected. Victims only talk about it when they have dealt with the trauma or the lack of one.
- Getting raped isn’t ‘brave’. Is it brave if there is theft in my home and I have talked about it? It’s an unfortunate incident that happened and I dealt with in the way I thought feasible.
- Rape does not change you as a person. It doesn’t define who you are or what views you hold. It doesn’t have to be this significant event that you can’t move on from. It depends on how brutal it was.
- Please don’t say “it happens to a lot of women. It isn’t a big deal”. These are actual words typed by someone on fb chat. Someone who comes across as aware and posts about current affairs.
- Don’t use rape as part of a casual conversation. An acquaintance (someone I met through Twitter) casually mentioned a friend and went on to say “R is a friend. She was raped and stuff. It was very sad”. No, doofus. She confided in you. Don’t talk about it to a random stranger. Needless to add, I avoided all contact with him after that meeting.
- Talking or writing about it does not always helps in healing. I haven’t come across one person who had the right thing to say about it. And I could write about it only once I had dealt with it. Even then, it took me days to recover. Now it’s like a distant dream and I don’t remember a thing. Which is why the post was shared on social media today. I wrote the post 3 years back.
- Parents didn’t believe it. Well, if people of my generation have said all the wrong things, how can I expect my parents to have the correct response? It’s easier to deal with if you refuse to believe it. How are they going to deal with the guilt of their daughter getting raped under their watch and by someone they trusted?
- I am not a feminist or vocal about women’s issues because I was raped. I have always been more aware than most women around me. Repression of women does not anger me because I was raped. It’s because am sensitive to these issues. And if you don’t react or care, you are the odd one. Not me.
- No. It isn’t possible to file a complaint against the rapist. I don’t want to confront him because am not there yet. Right now I can’t even remember his name or his face and that is the most ideal situation. Last time I heard his name was 3 years back and my reaction was extreme. I don’t want anything to affect me like that again.
If you are still confused about how to react, don’t react at all.
According to statistics, 50% of Indian kids (male and female) have been sexually abused. If they are not talking about it, it’s because of inappropriate responses of people around them.
Thanks for the comments on social media. I know my response to the comments was harsh but I do appreciate the intent.
For any queries, you can contact me on social media.