Sexual Violence and Sexual Abuse Awareness Week 2022
This year we were delighted to work with Experts by Experience, across all four London Rape Crisis Centre’s to share tips for family, friends, and partners, on what to say when someone shares their experience of sexual violence with you.
Tip 1 focusses on the importance of respecting someone’s privacy, personal information, and confidentiality.
Tip 2 focusses on the types of questions to avoid when someone discloses.
Whilst these might come from a place of wanting to understand, they can cause further harm by leaving someone feeling as if you don’t believe their story, and that you think it’s their fault.
Tip 3 shows how important it is to challenge the myths and victim-blaming that surrounds sexual violence. Take some time to get informed on the myths and realities of sexual violence here.
Tip 4 highlights how common it is for someone to freeze when faced with the threat and reality of sexual violence.
This is an instinctive survival response that kicks in when our lives are in danger. This video from Rape Crisis Scotland helps to explain this more.
Tip 5 shows how important it is to give survivors of sexual violence space to make choices that feel right for them, at the time that is right for them.
This might feel difficult sometimes, particularly when we want the best for someone we care about but feel powerless to help ourselves. But please know that being patient, giving space and respecting someone’s choices can make all the difference.
Find out more about RASASC’s holistic model of empowerment here.
Tip 6 shows that surviving after sexual violence is not linear. Taking the time to understand the impacts of sexual violence can help us to better understand what survivors might want and need.
This resource for parents and carers from Women and Girls Network is brilliant and full of expert knowledge and advice.
Tip 7 highlights that each person’s experience of sexual violence is valid and that all types of sexual violence cause harm which is never okay.
Tip 8 shows how important it is for each person to be supported to decide if they want to report to the police or not.
Independent Sexual Violence Advocates can offer specialist information and support to survivors, so that someone is able to make the choice that feels right for them.
If this was useful, you can read more about the ways to support survivors in your life here.
You can also find more information, resources, and support for experiences of sexual violence at Rape Crisis England and Wales.