I am currently involved in prostitution – can I receive support from RASASH?

We recognise that those involved in prostitution are often at high risk of sexual violence. The law in Scotland is absolutely clear – rape and sexual violence carried out in the context of prostitution is a criminal offence, and all survivors are entitled to the same justice and support. If sexual violence has happened to you whilst you were involved in prostitution, we will be glad to offer you support. If you are considering reporting what happened, we’ll be happy to talk through any aspect of this that might be helpful to you. We believe that anyone who has experienced rape, sexual abuse or sexual assault, at any age should have access to non-judgemental & confidential support. No-one is to blame for any form of rape, sexual abuse or sexual assault they experience, no matter the circumstance.

Do you support male survivors?

We recognize that men and boys can be victims of sexual violence and that there are many unhelpful myths which act as barriers to men disclosing sexual abuse and accessing support. We believe that anyone who has experienced rape, sexual abuse or sexual assault, regardless of gender, should have access to non-judgmental & confidential support. As a result we can offer support, information, and advocacy to all survivors, including men. As part of our commitment to accessibility we arrange our support sessions so that these are either all female or all male at any one time.

Why do you support men if you are a feminist organisation?

Rape is an act of violence and every survivor deserves support. As a feminist organization we believe in human rights, equality and accessibility and our work is informed by a gendered analysis of sexual violence. There is significant evidence that the majority of abuse is perpetrated by men against women and children (eg 2010/11 Scottish Crime and Justice Survey). The most recent government statistics also estimate that around 88% of people in the UK who have experienced rape are women, and our work aims to acknowledge and attend to these statistics.

RASASH believes that working towards the prevention of sexual violence needs to involve working on the social, cultural, economic and political attitudes that mean that women are overwhelmingly the abused; men are overwhelmingly the abusers; women who are abused are often blamed for what happened to them; and men who are abused feel they can’t speak out.

We understand that here may be particular barriers for male survivors seeking support, including unhelpful myths about being “manly”, sexual orientation or that “it’s not sexual violence if the perpetrator was female”.

It is very important that boys and men who have been sexually abused should be believed and supported too, and at RASASH we can provide information, advocacy and support for male survivors.

Do you understand the unique concerns and needs of LGBTI survivors?

We understand that some LGBTI survivors may have to deal with additional issues alongside the sexual assault or abuse itself. This could include, but is not limited to, prejudice, stereotyping, and concerns about public revelation of your sexual orientation, gender identity, or intersex status. RASASH aims to provide a safe and accessible space for any survivor seeking information, advocacy or support, and we will listen to what you have to say and will discuss with you any concerns you might have.

I am under 13, how do I access support?

You can contact the Childline free and anonymous helpline on 08001111 or can use their online chat facility to speak to someone.

Their link is: https://www.childline.org.uk/Talk/Chat/Pages/OnlineChat.aspx

The Highland Abuse Recovery Service is provided by Children 1st and works with children under 13. You can check out their website for more details: http://www.children1st.org.uk/what-we-do/our-services/search-our-services/recovery-from-abuse-and-trauma/highland-abuse-recovery-service-(killen)/

RASASH can only support people who are over the age of 13.

It happened a long time ago, can I still receive support from RASASH?

RASASH can support anyone 13 years and over who has been affected by rape or sexual abuse at any time in their life, whether it happened recently or over 50 years ago. There is no ‘time limit’ on coming to us for support. We know that it can take a lot of courage to come forward for support and to begin to talk about things and we will listen and go at your pace.

I have a disability, is your service accessible?

We can provide face to face, telephone, email or Skype support. Our premises in Inverness are accessible for most people with mobility disabilities. We can access interpretation services if you use BSL or SSE, and we are currently fitting hearing loop facilities. If you want to access our support but are concerned about any additional needs you have as a result of your disability, please get in touch and we will discuss with you what we can do to make our service as easy as possible for you to use.

You say that you cover the Highland area so why don’t you offer outreach support where I live?

If you are unable to access face-to-face support at our Inverness centre we may be able to provide outreach support within a thirty minute drive time from Inverness. Unfortunately we don’t currently have the resources to provide in-person, outreach support if you are based any further than 30 minutes away, but in time we hope to provide more outreach support. If you are interested in accessing support please contact us by freephone 03330 066909 or email us at support@rasash.org.uk and we can talk about how we can best offer you support.

Why do you use the term survivor?

We believe that if you have ever been assaulted and you have lived to tell the tale, you are a survivor. Being a survivor doesn’t mean you suffer the effects of your experience any less and it does not mean that you are any less entitled to emotional and physical support or care. Although RASASH uses the term survivor, we also believe that the person who experienced the sexual violence is the expert on how they wish to be referred to or how they name their experience. It takes courage, bravery, and strength to tell your story, and RASASH’s aim is to support that journey in whatever way is right for you.