The healing journey for survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse can be long and arduous. Depending on the severity of trauma and the stage of healing, survivors can experience periods in their lives that are very emotionally taxing for them and for their loved ones. The experiences of flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and recurrent fears make them feel powerless and serve as a reminder of the abuse. Feelings of shame and guilt and the desire to isolate themselves and hide are usual for survivors. Feelings of low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety are also common.
This is just some of what survivors experience on a regular basis. If you are a friend, a partner, or a child of a survivor, you have likely seen this play out in front of you. You might feel confused, frustrated, angry, or sad that your loved one had to experience such horrible trauma as sexual assault. And you may be feeling powerless as well. This is not a reason to give up because healing is possible. Know that DCRCC is here to support you and your loved one.
Here is some information that can guide you in the relationship and to support the survivor:
o Talk about anger
o Try to understand the survivor’s experience of anger
o Identify high-risk situations and trigger words
o Create nonverbal signals and alternatives
o Express anger in safe ways
o Understand the underlying difficulty
o Ask before touching
o Differentiate between nurturing and sexual touch
o Learn how to ask for what you want specifically
o Learn how to communicate about touching in general
o Emphasize the importance of making choices about sex
o Talk about initiating sex
o Talk about how to stop sex once started
o Talk about likes and dislikes
o Talk about triggers
o Use “I” messages
o Begin with positive statements
o Stay in the present
o Listen to your partner and reiterate what you hear
o Say what you want and what you are willing to do
o Discuss ways of relaxing
o Increase pleasurable activities
o Make time commitments to relaxation
o Learn to play
HOW TO RESPOND TO DISCLOSURES
o Thank them for sharing such a difficult and important moment with you.
o Affirmation their courage for opening up.
o Let them know that it was not their fault.
o Ask what the survivor needs right now and how you can help.
o Believe the survivor’s story.
o Instill in the survivor a sense of hope.
o Let the survivor know that they are not alone.
o Encourage the survivor to seek out professional help.
The DC Rape Crisis Center is deeply committed to the health, wellness and saftey of our clients, as well as the broader community. Out of abundance of caution, and in accordance with the COVID-19 pandemic, the DC Rape Crisis Center is suspending in person services, and will be delivering services remotely until further notice.
Our therapists will be providing virtual counseling services to youth & young adults, as well as adults who need our support during this challenging time.You can still call or email to schedule an intake appointment for services. For adults you may reach out to Rubi Mancilla at 202-470-1188 or email@example.com.
For Youth and Young Adults you may call Alyza Weinberg at 202-470-1530 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Our advocates are available via our 24/7 hotline please reach out if you need support 202-333-RAPE.
If you are any agency and would like to request training and technical assistance virtually please reach out to Chandra Dawson at 202-618-5088 or email@example.com.
We know that these are challenging, and unprecedented times right now. The staff at the DC Rape Crisis Center will continue to create pathways for your healing journey. If you have any further questions please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are wishing you, and your loved ones good health. Take care and be well.