Hi Aaron, I think this is good advice:

“Admit what you do not know.”

I have mixed feelings about this part:

“Respect others’ expertise.”

My feelings are mixed because in my observation there are a lot of people who present as ‘’experts’ who are not as good at responding to abuse as they think they are. These so-called experts may have many followers who laud and praise them, but that doesn’t mean much to me. Like I said, there are so-called ‘experts’ many in this category and I won’t name most of them, but you may be interested to know that I class Dianne Langberg in this category. If you want to know why, go here:


Lastly, I think this advice you gave is not at all wise:

“please, where you are doubtful and confused (as you will certainly be if you are truly learning), don’t discuss your confusion with survivors. Eg, ask questions about what does and does not constitute abuse, but find others to dialogue with who are not existentially touched by that question.”

You didn’t explain why you advise people not to discuss their confusion with survivors. Maybe we can dialogue about that.

My personal viewpoint, as a survivor-cum-advocate, is that if a person who wants to help a survivor is confused about the dynamics of abuse, it is VERY helpful to the survivor if that person is able and willing to humbly tell the survivor that they are feeling confused and out of their depth, and then humbly ask the survivor questions. The key word is ‘humbly’. Most would-be helpers make judgemental comments or give ‘well-meaning advice’ assuming they know what the survivor needs to do, think or feel.

Years ago I published an article about how ‘well-meaning people’ often speak to survivors in insensitive ways, and how survivors can respond to such people. Most advocates ignore that article of mine, as they ignore much of my other work. Sigh.

Here’s that article of mine;


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