You can read the first part of this series:
You can read the second part of this series:
I’m proud of who I am,
No more monsters, I can breathe again,
And you said that I was done
Well, you were wrong and now, the best is yet to come
Trust typically means a lot to so many people; you don’t have to have experienced abuse for trust to matter deeply to you, your relationships, and your opinions and thoughts of others. However, if you have survived abuse, trust can become especially important and essential to you and not just your relationships but your entire mental health and safety as well because where someone betrays your trust or abuses it in some way, you can be left feeling failed, let-down, embarrassed… It can bring forward a lot of thoughts and feelings that might even resemble those experienced during the abuse because typically, an abuser is someone who the survivor once trusted – or who they were beginning to develop a trusting relationship with. And if they could betray them in this way, why would they consider you to be much different?
1. “What’s changed (to make you want to talk about it)?”
2. “Why didn’t you talk about this sooner?”
3. “Does it not upset you to talk about it?”
4. “We don’t have to talk about this.”
5. “I don’t want you to get upset.”
6. “Are you going to be safe if we talk about it?”
7. “That’s so hard to hear.”
8. “I can’t even imagine what you went through.”
9. “Is now really the best/right time to talk about it?”
10. “Yeah, you mentioned that before.”
I feel like the topic of children has come up a lot recently – not just for me, but in the media too – I’ve seen so many women talk about the experience of others asking them when they’re going to have children. Typically, these women state that key reasons why you shouldn’t ask this are that the woman may, in some way, be unable to have children. Another reason I’ve heard is because some women simply don’t want to have children and being asked about the topic can leave them feeling pressured and isolated in their decision. I – personally – haven’t ever heard anyone talk about the chance that the woman you’re asking might have been sexually abused or raped and might therefore struggle with the idea of sex, let alone the thought of having children…
I think that there’s a lot of importance put in control when interacting with abuse survivors because the abuse was completely out of their control and so I think it’s almost natural to find yourself desperate to regain an element of that, literally anywhere in your life! But this can become especially true where current issues or instances are linked to the abuse or trauma you’ve survived e.g., talking about sex.
ü Have an awareness – be informed and cautious of just how much detail of abuse you can tolerate and are able to cope safely with.
ü Remember that if you don’t seek help to manage with everything you’re being told about the abuse, then you’ll be unable to help and support the survivor.
ü Utilise coping techniques and helpful means of distraction from the upsetting and difficult details you might hear.
ü Know – if you’re a family member or friend – when it’s appropriate to direct the survivor to a professional or more appropriate person to talk to about the abuse.
ü Seek professional help and support yourself if you begin to struggle or find yourself unsafe in trying to cope with everything you’re being told.
Abuse helplines (UK based)
Domestic Violence & Abuse:
For Children & Young People:
General Useful Links for Abuse Survivors & Their Loved Ones:
To Find Your Local Helplines & Support Services (UK based):