When someone is ready to open up about harassment (sexual or otherwise) they have experienced from another person DO NOT ever by any means respond with a
“But he/she’s really nice”
“They’re always nice to me”
“That doesn’t sound right. They’re so nice. They probably didn’t mean it”.
Because every time you respond in that way you’re making the victim feel COMPLETELY invalidated.
Victims already often find it difficult to speak up against harassment. If you invalidated their experience, do you think they would have the confidence to speak up again?
- Do you ever wonder why victims of harassment speak up so infrequently?
- Do you blame victims for not speaking up in the first place?
If you answered yes to either of those questions then you are not understanding how damaging it is to invalidate a victim. And even worse, it is damaging to not believe him or her.
If a person is finally ready to disclose their experience of harassment all you need to do is listen.