If you were my sister or brother…

I found this at RCIP and thought it was an awesome idea.

If you had a brother or sister that was sexually assaulted, what would you say to them?

Below are some of the responses at RCIP:

“If you were my brother or my sister, I would tell you to never give up. What we need to live and thrive is within each and every one of us and, as long as we keep searching, we will find it. I would tell you to stay strong, but know that its ok to be weak. ” ~Elektra

“If you were my sister I’d tell you that you have a strength far beyond what you ever thought you could possess. That you are special, unique and an individual who has great potential. I’d tell you that to survive is one thing, but to live, and thrive, and be great no matter what, is another, and that’s what you can do, and are doing in so many ways and you are LOVED!!” ~Melissa

“If you were my sister, I would tell you that no matter who hurt you, and no matter what happened, none of it was your fault and that the fastest way to start feeling better is to internalize that you did nothing wrong. I would also tell you that what happened to you defines a time in your life, not you as a person.” ~LemonMeringue

“If you were my sister, I would tell you that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are. We have all been hurt and, in effect, been changed by that hurt. In time we will all become better people by dealing with the pain and growing from it. You are brave and courageous and you were meant to survive.” ~Cheyenne

“If you were my sister, I would tell you that you are such a wonderful and courageous person with nothing but goodness to share with others in the world and I will hold your hand and help you along your healing journey. HE has done wrong, not you!” ~Jane

“If you were my sister or brother… I would ask if you wanted a hug. I would tell you that when you see your reflection in my eyes- you are beautiful, pure, undamaged but wronged. You are more than the sum of your body parts and you have rights. I would try to explain why it wasn’t your fault even though you may feel unreasonable guilt. I would tell you that every time someone RE-victimized you it wasn’t because they meant to hurt you. That it was part of victim blame and the ‘just world theory’ and not a reflection on you. That they just don’t understand rape trauma syndrome. They don’t know how to help you – but a therapist might. I would try to prepare you for this world, find you a therapist, take you to a counselor and teach you coping skills like ‘safe place’- a place in your mind where you can go when you need to feel control.

If you were my sister or brother I would love you no matter what.” ~pixie

“If you were my sister I would say that I was so sorry that this happened and that no matter what happened, it wasn’t your fault. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” ~Anonymous

I thought it would be neat if we took this and added our own. Here is mine:

“If you were my sister or brother I would tell you that I am so sorry this happened to you and how honored I am that you shared it with me. What happened was not your fault. No matter how many times you second guess yourself, you survived – obviously you did the right thing. I would tell you that it is okay to stay in bed if that is all you can do right now and then bring you a mug of hot chocolate and a warm quilt. And remember, this is not something you should be ashamed of. The only one who should feel ashamed is your assailant. I love you and will be here for you!” ~Kimberly

If you would like to add your message, please post it in the comments and I will add it.


~ by After Silence on September 9, 2009.

3 Responses to “If you were my sister or brother…”

  1. Reading this blog post was somewhat difficult for me. I was assaulted 8 years ago, and I only realized that what had happened to me was sexual assault about 3 and a half years ago. My assault has led me to get involved in violence prevention, and even though I graduated from college, I still make sure that sexual violence gets talked about among my friends, and I still consider myself an activist.

    But only a few nights ago, my older brother, who found out from Twitter that I was a survivor, and who noticed how often I tweeted links about sexual violence, decided he needed to talk to me about it. He demonstrated a serious lack of understanding about many of the issues, and kept telling me that I had to let go of the past, and that I couldn’t get over my assault if I let it inform my identity like I have.

    Most of the quotations above are dealing with what seems like a discussion soon after an assault, where the victim hasn’t yet moved on to a survivor identity. And so, what I would say to my brother or my sister if I learned that they were survivors:

    I would tell you that I’m really sorry for what happened to you, and that I’m glad that you’re okay and comfortable with me knowing this thing about you. I would let you know how proud I am to be your sibling, and that your survival, and your ability to turn your experience into something even remotely positive, make me honored to be your sibling. And I would ask if there was anything that I could do to help you even further, or to get more involved to make sure that no more people have to go through what you did.

    And I totally promise that I will never, ever bring up your assault while we’re at a sporting event.

  2. This is wonderful and also very difficult to read. None of my sisters could really say much to me after I told them about what had happened with my therapist. Though one responded with some care, I wish they all could have responded with the kind of empathy and concern shown here. A lot of people simply don’t know what to say, or they try to be helpful by examining the situation and trying to figure out “what went wrong.” Victims need a tremendous amount of support, validation, and acknowledgment in order to become survivors. Hopefully, by speaking the truth about our experiences and what is important, we can educate the public bit by bit and people will learn to be more empathetic. Thanks for this post!

  3. If you were my sister I wouldn’t tell you a thing. I would just sit with you, enveloping you in my arms.

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