Abusers DO NOT discriminate
Women and young women of every age, sexual orientation, belief system, race and occupation are raped. Despite the myths that surround rape, it does not matter where you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing, how you were behaving, whether you were drunk or sober, alone, vulnerable, with someone you trusted, you did not asked to be raped. The responsibility always lies with the abuser, not with you
We can help you come to terms with what has happened to you regardless of whether it happened recently or decades ago. If it is affecting you life we can help you regain control and move on.
If the rape or sexual assult was recent
Be kind to and look after yourself.
Try to get yourself somewhere you feel safe and if possible with people you trust and who care for you.
Recognise you may be in shock, so keep warm and drink plenty of fluids.
If you have any injuries get them properly treated either by your GP or NHS24.
If you feel you want to report the rape or sexual assault to the police, contact them directly. (Check out the section on the web site about what reporting to the police may involve) Please do not have a bath or a shower in case you lose forensic evidence. This may be very difficult to resist, but please try.
If you want to change your clothing bag everything you have removed to give to the police in case there is forensic on your clothes.
If there is a possibility of pregnancy you may want to take the Morning After Pill (up to 72 hours after). You can get this from your own GP, the Well Woman clinic, or any chemist.
If you are worried about sexually transmitted infections, you can get confidential advice and treatment from the Well Woman Clinic, or your own GP.
We can support you through any or all of the above, please phone us if you need help.
How do you feel?
Every woman’s feelings are unique to her, and women will react differently to rape and sexual assault. Whatever you are feeling is a normal reaction to what you have experienced. Some common feelings and reactions to rape and sexual assault are listed below. Remember the list is not exhaustive and some women experience none of the below:
If the rape or sexual assault was recent you may still be in shock. This can mean that you feel numb and unemotional, cold and unable to get warm, you may be tearful, laughing or physically sick.
You may have heightened startle responses and jump every time there is a sudden or unexpected noise.
You may be struggling to believe what has happened.
You may feel responsible and to blame for what has happened.
You may be unable to cope with everyday life and work.
You may only be able to cope with everyday life and work and avoid down time.
You may be experiencing strong flashbacks.
You may feel angry and subject to huge mood swings.
You may be taking your anger out on those closest to you.
You may feel dirty and ashamed.
You may have lost confidence in yourself and those you trust.
You may be having nightmares and disturbed sleep.
Remember, whatever you feel is normal. You can come to terms with rape and sexual assault. What has happened is not your fault.
Ways of coping
We know that many women try to get on with their lives by blocking out the rape or sexual assault. Often this works for a while but it takes so much energy to suppress such experiences and carry on as if nothing has happened. It truly is a heavy burden to carry. Usually, some life event (perhaps the birth of a child, a programme on TV, a news story, an unexpected meeting with their abuser etc) causes everything to unravel. Or coping mechanisms that initially helped can become problems in their own right. This can be self-injury, cutting, burning, scrubbing etc. Or substance misuse whether prescribed medication, street drugs or alcohol. Or even eating disorders such as bingeing and vomiting and starving.
Moving on from rape and sexual assult
You must remember that you are not to blame for this happening to you. You did not ask for it and you are not responsible for it. Blame and responsibility lies with the abuser. You are important and you do matter.
Many survivors find it incredibly difficult to speak about their experiences and their feelings but if they can talk to someone they trust things do gradually get better. You can make sense of what has happened, regain control and move on.
Healing from rape and sexual assault can take time, and sometimes it feels as if things get worse before they get better. If you can identify a trusted friend, partner or family member the support they can give you can be invaluable to your healing process. You can also contact us and we will help work through the feelings and issues you have surrounding what has happened to you.
Even if the rape or sexual assault was some time ago, your feelings are important.