When I was raped at 15, it wasn’t “God’s plan.” And anyone who said that to me can, to put it lightly, fuck off. This sentiment also goes for anyone who says things such as, “Everything happens for a reason.” You can also fuck off.
The only reason I was raped is a 21-year-old man decided to get me drunk at his parents’ house and rape me. There was no god in that basement. There was no reason.
This might piss some people off, but if you believe in a god that would let a child be abused for a decade and then raped a year after they were removed from their parents’ custody, you might want to keep that to yourself.
People have said things like this to me for many years. They’ll also remind me God wouldn’t give me more than I could handle. To which, I like to point out that I attempted suicide multiple times as a result (in part) of my abuse and rape. So, yeah, it was a bit more than I could handle.
When you say things like this to trauma victims of any kind, you are taking the blame off the abusers, rapists, predators, etc., and you’re giving them an out. You’re excusing assault, and you’re invalidating a victim’s trauma.
This is not to say you’re in support of rape. I know, for the most part, it’s a well-intentioned sentiment. But please be aware of what it feels like to hear something like that for someone who probably already feels invalid. Victims are commonly ignored by those they tell. They’re told they’re lying or overreacting by people they’re supposed to be able to trust.
There’s no perfect response to someone’s trauma. Apologies always feel kind of (very) weird because the general response I have to an apology is, “It’s okay,” which it isn’t. And I’ve found out how shameful answering the question, “Did they ever catch the guy?” feels, because I never turned in my rapist. So, one piece of advice is to not assume anything. That’s a bad idea, and can make someone feel worse.
The best piece of advice I have to give here is to pay attention. If someone doesn’t seem like they want to talk about it, don’t press them. To state the obvious, that is very invasive and rude. You wouldn’t want someone asking you questions about something so private when you don’t want to answer them.
On the opposite end, if they do want to talk, listen. Compassionately, without judgment. Don’t ask invasive questions (as mentioned above); just hear them. Don’t try to fix it; you can’t. Don’t offer advice unless they ask for it. Believe them; don’t doubt them.
If you have to say anything, tell them they’re valid, t.0hat their trauma is valid. Remind them you’re there for them, you care about them and they can trust you. Trauma isn’t easy and really fucks up the way your brain processes things. Support is appreciated through something so difficult. Just be compassionate, and ask your friend what they need from you. Be there for them.
When you have a friend with trauma, or you yourself are dealing with trauma, remember that the only reason someone was raped or abused or assaulted is because someone decided to do it. Someone made the choice to hurt them. No god would want to hurt someone like that.