what a woman hears when she shares her experience of harassment, abuse or assault

"Shares her Experience" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Shares her Experience” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

Buy a fine art print of this cartoon HERE.

I know this is true because I have friends who’ve heard these things said when they share their experiences of harassment, abuse, or assault. There’s even more that has been said to them but I ran out of room, like “I don’t see any signs, like cuts or bruises!”

You can see it all over the news. These things are said all the time.

Again, I simply quote Anita Sarkeesian, who said that one of the most radical things you can do to help women who have been harassed is to “actually believe women when they talk about their experiences.”

So that’s what I do.


Join The Lasting Supper. We’ll believe you when you talk about your experiences.


You may also like...

14 Responses

  1. David … isn’t the technical term for those dialog thingees “a bubble”? If people get the point of your cartoon, hopefully it will help start bursting those bubbles.

    ‘Bout time.

    Thanks for that.

  2. Robin Janney says:

    I hate that line about “provoking”. I’ve heard it before, not specifically about myself but to me it felt implied. A friend of mine was telling me a story about a girl at work who had been hit by her guy (I don’t remember the relationship status) and my friend outright asked her “What did you do to provoke him?” She was quick to clarify to me that the woman didn’t deserve it, but a guy wouldn’t hit a woman unless he was provoked. Which I think is very naive, especially considering my friend tells me how she used to be in abusive relationships herself. Maybe she’s just repeating what she heard.

    But it bothered me, because she knows my husband can fly off the handle and I end up hurt. I felt like she was subtly saying the same thing to me when she was telling me this story. That I didn’t deserve being hurt, but really I had provoked him…soooooo…really, when we say that, we’re saying that if you poke the beehive you deserve to get stung.

    And — I’m a coward. I can’t tell her what I think of her opinion, or how it makes me want to spend less and less time with her. Granted, I owe her just over a hundred bucks, and that always complicates relationships, but our friendship was already strained before that. In a way, that’s a side issue. But it also illustrates to me just how afraid I am of her emotional manipulation/abuse. But I guess, it’s my fault because I’d be provoking that too right?

    I’m not sure how this comment wandered, but I guess it just goes to show that not all cases of abuse are with the opposite gender.

    I stay with my husband, even though he can be abusive when he looses his temper…because I can see him trying to change, he has grown so much in the past few years and that’s not just me being love-blind.

    On the flip side, I’m scared to death to end this female friendship…cuz she scares the bejesus outa me. She’s EVERYWHERE on social media and sometimes I feel stalked. I think I’m safe posting this here. But I think twice, three times before posting anything on FB…even comments on other’s status’ since FB likes to show friends activities.


    sorry, but I feel a little better.

  3. Jarred says:

    “But he’s such a nice guy.”
    “He’s always been good to me.”
    “If it was so bad, why didn’t you just leave?”

    To add just a few more.

  4. Ben W says:

    Robin, you’re right to feel that way you do. Abuse isn’t always due to provoking somebody. Sometimes an abuser will PERCEIVE an attitude or look or tone of voice, and assume the worst and get violent. And if someone PERCEIVES an attitude or look or tone of voice from me, and acts upon that perception without first seeking clarification, it’s 100% that person’s problem and not my own. On the other hand, if I perceive an attitude/look/tone of voice, I’ve learned not to act too quickly. I seek to understand if my perception is accurate (maybe it really IS just me). If my perception is accurate, I seek to understand why that person feels the way they do, and seek a solution (if possible). If I am part of the problem, then being offended will not solve anything. Calm, rational and respectful discussion is always the best reaction, and is the most likely way to solve any ongoing issues. Best of luck to you in this situation.

  5. Thanks for sharing everyone! I hope increased awareness will help end this cycle.

  6. Teresa says:

    – “First of all, I am very sorry he did that to you.”
    – “He abused you for NINE-TEEN YEARS?!?” (yes) “I am SO sorry”.
    – “If there is ever anything I can do to help you, please let me know.” (bishop)
    – many more.

  7. Rare Teresa, which i suppose is why it is so beautiful.

  8. Diona says:

    – I’ve never seen him do anything bad to you.
    – Isn’t abuse too strong of a word?
    – I’ve known him for years and know he would never do anything to hurt you.

  9. Ya. Good ones. As in bad ones.

  10. –But he never hit you, so how is that abuse?
    (from a judge in court) –There is no such thing as verbal or emotional abuse in the court of law. What you are describing is bad parenting.
    –He’s trying to change.
    –Do you want to destroy your family?

  11. Brandi says:

    – “it takes two to tango” (from guidance counselor after I was almost raped)
    – “Don’t take what he says and does so personally”
    – “You’re too sensitive”
    – “It’s not that bad”

  12. terrible. but true. sorry brandi

  13. S.J. says:

    How do we keep it just?
    If someone confides in you as a friend, that’s one thing. If someone confides in you as a person of authority – and you know and have power over BOTH people, who do you believe and WHY?

    I’d also like to note that this cartoon confuses me. Some of the questions posed to the woman in the picture like “Do you have medical records?” and “Do you have police reports?” and “Can anyone corroborate your claims?” are things that I would ask a woman if I DID believe her. Asked altogether, the comments in the cartoon (sum total) would insinuate doubt and discouragement. But individually, not all of them are unreasonable. Some are vital.