PART 7 The Listener: On Route to Healing
The first step to being a good ally isn’t listening, even though that is the most important in my opinion. Before you can listen you need to believe. So many sexual assault victims do not get the support they need because people have a hard time believing them. Once you have decided to believe only then can you listen.
Listening is the most important thing an ally can do. Just sitting there without words or opinions can be the most healing experience. Do not try to give advice or try to explain why it happened to them. Just listen, without judgement or pity.
Listening can be hard for some people to do. Do not try to change the subject or make it out to be less of a trauma. You do not know how they are feeling so do not try to rationalize the situation. Also do not ask invasive questions and respect their boundaries.
Be patient. To be a good ally you must also be patient. The road to healing is a long and painful one and people who have been through a trauma like a sexual assault need support. Listening is a patient task. Most sexual assault victims want to be heard, so just listen.