Speak to a friend

Some things to consider about speaking to a friend

Men and boys sometimes choose not to talk about their experiences at the time for very good reasons. Perhaps it felt like the safest thing to do, or perhaps they tried to tell someone who did not respond in a very helpful or supportive way.  So it becomes ‘normal’ not to speak about it.

This can become a hard pattern to break. While you may know on an intellectual level that speaking about it will help you, because that’s what the professionals say, it can be hard to work up the courage to do so. It can also be hard to decide who to tell.

Who will you choose? 

While it can certainly be helpful to speak to a friend about your experiences and their impact on your life, it is also important to take care how you do this. 

Not everyone you know will be ready to hear about your experiences or what you are dealing with. Even friends or family who you get along well with are not always going to be able to support you in the way you would like.

It can be useful to ask yourself:

  • What am I looking for from this person? 
  • What kind of response would I like? 
  • What tells me that this person will be able to hear what I am saying? 
  • What are my worries and concerns? 
  • How might I prepare them for what I am about to say? 
  • How might I take care of myself and not place too high an expectation on this person? 

Unfortunately, unwanted sexual experiences are such a secretive issue that you might have to educate them about how to help along the way.

Some people might want to be there for you but simply don’t know what to do. You can show them this website and tell them the language you would prefer them to use to describe your experience(s). 

You can explain to them the things that you are putting in place to help yourself and request their practical support.

Remember, it is your decision if, who, when, and how much of your story you want to tell. If someone presses for details that you are not ready or willing to share, it’s OK to let them know this. 

If you feel unsure about what someone is thinking, try asking them. Sometimes their silence might be because they are uncertain what to do, not because they are making judgements. 

Telling people about your experiences is not necessarily a one-off event. It is often more of a process. Where you can take it in parts, come back to it and check out people’s responses.

If you don’t have anyone in your life at the moment who you feel meets your requirements, or you are not quite sure if you can trust your chosen person, then you can always talk to a professional as a first step.