Some individuals who have been impacted by sexual violence choose not to talk about their experiences because they are afraid that they won’t be believed. Sometimes, the person who discloses to you has already tried to tell someone else and not been believed. People rarely lie about experiencing sexual violence, but there is a great deal of cultural mythology around the notion of false reporting.
When survivors disclose, you can use affirming phrases to communicate that you believe them and that they did the right thing by telling you. Your belief in survivors is essential to their healing.
These affirming phrases will let survivors know you believe them:
"I believe you."
"I'm so sorry this happened.”
"Thank you for telling me. I believe you and I’m here to support you.”
"Thank you for trusting me enough to share this with me. How can I support you?”