By Pastor Sylvia Quah
- When I share my experience of sexual assault, I have feelings of fear, shame, confusion, helplessness and self-blame. I am even worried that you will doubt my words. My greatest hope is that you will believe me and assure me that it is not my fault.
- When sharing my experience, please listen carefully and do not interrupt or keep asking questions to get details of the abuse. It is unsettling and prevents me from honestly sharing my heart.
- Please do not judge or blame my dressing, age, cultural and family background, or my relationship with the perpetrator. These are never reasons or grounds for the aggressor to have hurt me. I did not ask for this to happen.
- Please do not criticize, judge, evaluate or analyze my experience – I need a safe place to share. Do not get sidetracked by your concern to do damage control or try to protect the perpetrator.
- Please allow me to shed tears or weep, and even be angry, because I have lost my dignity and my sense of security. My inner pain and sorrow needs relief.
- Please speak to me gently and be accepting of me. It will bring me great comfort.
- Please do not touch or hug me without permission because such physical contact may trigger my traumatic memories. Please ask me and be respectful of my wishes.
- Please do not offer to journey with me one-to-one. The recovery process is a long one and I am worried that I will transfer my emotions to you, and emotional dependency may occur. I need two or more companions to journey with me, and to build a healthy support system, so that I know I am not alone in dealing with my trauma.
- When seeking advice, please make me aware of my options and rights so I understand what actions I can take – whether it is seeking help from an agency/organization, going to a hospital for a physical examination, getting legal advice or making a police report. Please respect my personal rights.
- Please do not push me too quickly to forgive the sexual perpetrator, or coerce me to be reconciled with him/her immediately. Reconciliation and restoration cannot happen without the aggressor’s true repentance, self-awareness and transformation.