What to Say If Your Best Friend Tells You She Was Raped

#1 on the list is “Believe Her”:

One out of every six American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. If you look at that statistic (and we all know how under-reported sexual assault is), is it truly possible that all rapes happen in dark alleys? If it were, we’d be seeing knife-wielding maniacs everywhere.

The terrifying truth is that perpetrators of sexual abuse can be anyone—a family member, a coach, a spouse, a babysitter, a friend—and the scariest thing is, they’re not all evil people. They can be accomplished, otherwise law-abiding citizens who seem perfectly normal. So if your best friend tells you she was raped by a regular guy you both know, you can’t immediately turn away from the idea just because it doesn’t fit your notion of what rape looks like.