Tell Me About It: The perfect words for a speechless moment
On a perfect thing to say when you don't know what to say:
The nicest handwritten note I received from a pupil read, "Mrs. (K.), I don't know what to say in light of your recent loss, but I was taught always to say something in such a case, so, 'I'm sorry.' " I still have it 17 years later. It was such a small gesture, but the kindest of all.
On finding compassion for the awkward neighbor kid:
On "Are you dating/getting married/having children/having another child"-type questions:
A friend once suggested the greatest reply to all loaded questions: "It is on the to-do list."
On the prevalence of sexual assault:
The Jan. 7, 2014, column (http://wapo.st/1krgjT7) included a lovely, supportive letter to a rape survivor that also stated, "I've never been raped nor do I think I know anyone who has been."
Yes you do. Sexual assault and sexual violence is visited on 1/4 to 1/3 of the women in this country. Saying you don't know anyone who has survived sexual assault is willful blindness. Implying this is unusual also inadvertently distances and isolates the survivor.
We all know survivors of sexual assault. They might be your daughter, colleague, boss, running partner, trainer. It is statistically impossible that you don't.
Chat with Carolyn Hax online at noon Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.