What to NEVER say to a victim of abuse

Clayton King spoke at Newspring Church (Perry Noble’s church) recently as part of a series to women (the whole thing has been amazing), specifically on the topic of abuse. Powerful, powerful stuff, to those who have suffered abuse, who know someone who has, to those who have been helped and those who still need help. You can listen to the whole thing here, or watch the video here.

At the end of the message he gave an opportunity for victims to receive help (I loved that he had counselors in the congregation get up at that point to head out as well, so people wouldn’t assume those getting up are necessarily victims – it gave a way for people to feel safe), but before doing so he gave these instructions to friends and family sitting in the congregation who may be surprised to see their loved one get up and go – these are what they were to NEVER say to the person, and what they should say. The following is a quote from him, definitely a great list:

What to NEVER say …

  • Why didn’t you tell me sooner?
  • Why are you so upset? This happened years ago.
  • Stop crying, just put it behind you.
  • Why didn’t you do something about it while it was happening?
  • I can’t believe you didn’t make them stop.
  • I’m going to find the person who did this to you and I’m going kill them or get revenge.
  • Don’t tell anyone else. We’ll handle this ourselves.
  • Did you secretly enjoy it?
  • Did you bring this on yourself in some sort of way?
  • It’s time that you move on. You just need to get over this.

Some things you can say and that you should say, regardless of how you feel, regardless of whether or not you want to say these things. You need to say these things until you feel them. Say them over and over again, say them until you mean them.

  • I love you no matter what happened or what you tell me.
  • I’m with you no matter what, until the very end.
  • We’re going to get through this together by the grace of God.
  • You’re so brave and courageous, and I’m so proud of you for being honest.
  • You’re more beautiful to me now than you’ve ever been.
  • The love of Jesus will sustain us.
  • I may not understand all you’re feeling, but I’ll try.
  • Be honest with me about everything, but also be patient with me as I try to understand you.
  • I’ll go to counseling with you when you’re ready.
  • We’ll get you the help you need, no matter what it costs or what we have to do.
  • It’s not your fault.

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