Everyone who experiences sexual violence will react differently.
Some people will choose to access support immediately, for others it can be many years before they feel ready to disclose what happened to them.
This is okay!
The Survivors Trust London has support options available for adult survivors no matter when the sexual abuse, rape or sexual violence happened.
We want to ensure that all survivors have access to appropriate counselling, support, and advice so that they can reclaim their lives.
What feelings might a survivor need support with?
The trauma of sexual violence can lead to complex feelings which can be difficult for a survivor to manage alone.
These feelings can impact a survivor’s wellbeing and they sometimes need support to find healthy ways to cope with their feelings.
- Guilt or self-blame
- Embarrassment, or feelings of shame
- Fear, distrust
- Sadness or anger
- Isolation or loneliness
- Lack of control
- Shock, disbelief
The most important thing to remember is that, however a survivor is feeling, they do not have to cope alone.
Services for adults in London include options such as: specialist trauma counselling; ISVA services; advocacy; group and peer support; social support and online support and self-care resources.
Survivors of all genders and backgrounds can be affected by sexual violence so there is support available for all types of survivors from The Survivors Trust London.
Some of our members are able to offer services for individuals from specific backgrounds who may face their own unique challenges. For example:
- Survivors UK are a dedicated services for boys, men and non-binary survivors aged +13. Many of our other members also support both male and female survivors.
- ICAP provide counselling to mainly to the Irish Community within Britain
ANBU supporting survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the Tamil community
Healing is not always linear, but we are always here
For survivors of sexual trauma, there is no timeline for recovery. It is normal for there to be bumps in the road when recovering from trauma.
An adut survivor may have gone many years without experiencing symptoms of trauma, but sudden life changes can trigger new challenges. This could be:
- A court date or trial
- Breakdown of family or a relationship
- When choosing to disclose their trauma to someone new
- During pregnancy & childbirth
- New to parenthood
- Death of a perpetrator
- If a perpetrator is released from prison
If this has happened to you, do not be worried about seeking support. We understand that life presents different challenges, and there are services available for you wherever you are in your healing journey.
The long-term impact of sexual trauma
All traumatic events can affect our thoughts, feelings, behaviour and even our physical health.
The experience of sexual assault or abuse at any age, and whether male or female can have a long-term impact on a person’s life. It may include challenges around:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Alcohol or drug misuse and dependence
- Self-harming behaviours
- A difficult relationship with food, or body image.
- Sexual problems, confusion about sexuality or relationship problems
- Transient psychotic episodes
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Dissociative Identity disorder
- Somatisation – Emotional distress experienced as physical pain.
- Parenting Problems
We understand that it can be overwhelming to think that your life may be affected in these ways, but it is important to remember that not all survivors will be affected by these challenges – every survivor will have a unique journey.
However, if you do find yourself struggling, you are not alone, all our members have years of experience working with survivors to help them overcome these challenges to live happier, more peaceful lives.
They can help survivors learn to manage their complex emotions and help them to adopt healthy coping mechanisms to improve their wellbeing.
The following member of The Survivors Trust London offer services for adult survivors:
- Watford Rape Crisis
- Survivors UK
- One in Four
- Into The Light
- The Haven Network
- Aurora Foundation for People Abused in Childhood
- Survivors of Abuse