Things NOT To Say to a Rape/Abuse Survivor



Big, MASSIVE trigger warning for abuse, rape, victim-blaming and retraumatising.


“What were you wearing?”

“How much had you had to drink?”

“Why were you on your own?”

“You went to his house, what did you think would happen?”

“Are you sure you didn’t lead him on?”

“Well, you were flirting.”

“It’s not rape if he’s your boyfriend (/husband/partner.)”

“It’s not rape if you’re a sex-worker.”

“It’s not rape if you’re BOTH drunk.”

“It’s not rape if you weren’t physically forced/threatened/injured.”

“He probably thought you wanted it too.”

“Are you sure you’re not just having morning-after regret?”

“There are two sides to every story.”

“Yeah, that wasn’t cool…. but it wasn’t, like, rape rape.”

“I believe you, but I don’t want to hear it. He’s my friend.”

“I believe you, but you need to let it go.”

“I believe you, but no-one else will unless you press charges.”

“Why didn’t you go to the police?”

“Everyone knows he plays hard and doesn’t do safewords.”
“If you were a real submissive, you wouldn’t mind.”

“You should be flattered – you were so desirable he couldn’t control himself!”

“He would never do that, he’s a Good Guy.”

“No-one will believe you, he’s a pillar of the community.”

“I’m sure it was just a misunderstanding/miscommunication.”

“Consent is fuzzy and complicated.”
“Did you say ‘no’ CLEARLY enough?”

“You sleep with so many people, why does one more make a difference?”

“I thought you were a proud slut?”

“I thought you were sexually liberated?”

“Are you just saying it was rape because you cheated on your boyfriend (/husband/partner?”)

“Emotional abuse isn’t really abuse.”

“Stop throwing big words like “abuse” around just because he was mean to you sometimes.”

“Abuse is only when someone hits you.”

“Do you have any proof?”

“I know he raped you, but…. it’s cool if I stay friends with both of you, right?”

“I know he raped you, but…. it’s cool if I invite him to parties you’re going to be at, right?”

“I know he raped you, but…. it was an amicable breakup and you’re still on good terms, right?”

“It’s not fair to tell mutual friends what he did to you. They won’t want to take sides!”

“You shouldn’t talk about it; that’s just creating DRAMA!!!”

“You were young, you probably don’t remember properly.”

“He was young, he can’t be held responsible.”

“Well after you refusing for so long, who can blame him for getting a bit pushy?”

“You shouldn’t gossip/spread rumours, it’s not nice.”

“You shouldn’t say things like that, his new girlfriend won’t like it.”

“He’s not abusing his new girlfriend, so he obviously never abused you.”

“If you don’t press charges and his new girlfriend gets hurt too, it’ll be all your fault!”

“Are you really going to ruin his life for the sake of one silly mistake?”
“Are you really going to ruin his life for YOUR mistake?”

“If you get him convicted, he’ll never ‘X’ again!”


I’m sure there are more. Add your own to the list in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Things NOT To Say to a Rape/Abuse Survivor

  1. femingen says:

    “Well, you were stupid.” This is what the one person I told about my rape said to me. And I felt stupid. And because he made me feel stupid, I shut up about it and didn’t speak about it for 15 years. I repressed a lot of the details, but it never went away. And now, more than 15 years later, I’m finally starting to deal with it.

  2. I count the number of times I heard many of the ones about abuse from my ex, her family, and “friends”.

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