Know What to Say

Something happens that doesn’t seem right. Questions come up. What should you say to help?

What if this happens?

Something you can say or do is:

Your friend asks you if someone can consent to having sex if they’re drunk.

Talk about what consent means. In a nutshell, both people agree and are excited about it. If someone is drunk, they can’t consent to sex.

“If someone’s been drinking, they’re not in the right space to make clear decisions. The person wanting to have sex with them needs to stop.”

The person your friend is dating posts a nude picture of your friend online?

Listen and find out what your friend wants to do. Share your concern about red flags: not respecting boundaries, no trust, treating someone like they’re an object.

“Doing this is like treating you like you don’t matter and I think you do matter. How can I help you?”.

 

Or what if this happens?

Try this:

Your classmate says: “Our team got raped last night on our home court.”?

Let them know joking about rape and other types of sexual violence is never ok.

“Whoa, not cool. That’s a rape joke. And rape is a major problem.”

Your classmate says, “Of course they got grabbed, did you see what they were wearing?”

Express that sexual harassment is never ok, no matter what the person is wearing.

“It doesn’t matter what they’re wearing. Grabbing someone isn’t OK. Why are you hung up on the clothing and not the grabbing?”

 

What if someone you know has experienced these kinds of things? How can you help them feel listened to, safe, and respected?

  • Help them realize or accept that what’s happening isn’t healthy. Let them know this kind of thing isn’t “normal” and it’s not their fault.
  • Connect them to resources that can help them get out of the situation.
  • Help them develop a safety plan.

 

Some content adapted from Love is Respect, Break the Cycle, A Call to Men, Healthy Teen Network, National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Not On My Watch, Planned Parenthood, Scarleteen, A Thin Line.