What is RASASH all about?
RASASH can provide emotional or practical support and information to young people aged 13 to 18 years old who have experienced rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse or sexual bullying at any time in their lives. RASASH also works to prevent and to end sexual violence of all sorts.
What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence is any kind of unwanted sexual behaviour. This can include unwanted touching, fondling, sexual harassment, pressurised sex, flashing, sexual assault and rape. Rape is when one or more people have penetrative sex with a person without their consent. Sexual violence is an abuse of power and a form of control which causes pain, fear, helplessness, distress and sometimes trauma.
What does giving consent mean?
Consent means someone giving permission for something to happen or freely agreeing to do something. It is important to remember that consent means free agreement; for a person to freely agree they must have made an informed choice without any pressure or force.
The law states that both people need to consent before sex or any sexual activity. The law also says that a person must be over 16yrs old to be able to consent to sex.
If you are under 16 and have been raped or assaulted, or are living with sexual violence, try to confide in an adult you trust and feel safe with. The law says that in certain circumstances the adult may need to share the information you tell them if they consider you to be at risk of any harm. This is something they should let you know and they should support you with the reporting process throughout.
At RASASH we will believe what you tell us, keep what you tell us in confidence and you can come to see us without anyone else knowing, unless we feel you or any other young people are still at risk of harm from someone else or from yourself. We will always try and talk to you about this first, and any decisions we make would be about trying to keep you safe from harm and to support you in the best way possible.
What is Trauma?
Trauma is a word used to describe what happens to our mind and body when we see or go through something that is threatening or dangerous. Sexual violence can be traumatic and can affect your mind and body, making you have strong feelings of fear, seeing and hearing the abuse again, feeling alone, not being able to concentrate and feeling unsafe. These feelings come as a result of the rape, sexual abuse and trauma and are not evidence of being bad or of not coping.
What does RASASH believe?
- Rape, sexual violence or sexual assault is NEVER the fault of the person that it has happened to.
- 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 or sexually abused or sexually assaulted.
- The responsibility always lies with the person who abused you, not with you.
What will happen when I get in touch with RASASH?
- We will accept and believe you, no matter what you tell us.
- We will listen carefully to you.
- We will respect you.
- We will give you more information about how we can help you.
- We will give you any information or/and support that you need over the phone
- We can offer you a time to come and meet with us.
- We will go at your pace and be led by you.
- We will keep what you tell us in confidence (we will let you know the times we would have to break this rule).
If I do decide to come to RASASH what can you do to help me?
At RASASH we know that it is a huge step to ask for support and tell someone what has happened. We know that everyone is different and that how they feel and think about what happened to them will be different. Sometimes young people feel that no one will understand them or that nothing will help with how they feel. At RASASH we will listen to how you feel and what you think might help you. When you get in touch with us we will talk this through with you and talk to you about how we might be able to help.
Some of the ways that we can help young people are:
- Giving you information about how to report rape or sexual assault to the Police - if you want to do this - or giving you information about what might happen if your case goes to court
- We can meet with you every week to give you a safe and confidential place where you can choose to talk about whatever you want to
- We can help you with your feelings about what has happened and help you look at new ways to cope
- We can help you see that the rape or sexual abuse was not your fault and how to cope with flashbacks, nightmares or self-harming
- We can help you look at ways to feel more confident and how you might get more support from the people around you
- We can help you express yourself by using art, writing or talking
We know that rape or sexual assault affects young people in many different ways. There is no right or wrong way to feel after you have been through rape or sexual abuse, but some feelings that can be common after rape or sexual assault can be:
- Feeling lonely and that no one will understand
- Feeling that it is your fault and feeling really guilty
- Feeling unsafe and scared
- Feeling numb or far away
- Feeling really low and having thoughts of not wanting to live
- Having flashbacks and nightmares
- Trying to block out what has happened
- Feeling muddled, confused and overwhelmed
- Feeling anxious and finding it hard to concentrate in school/college or work
- Feeling dirty, ashamed and bad
- Feeling distant from other people and people that you once felt close to
- Feeling really angry or really sad or feeling nothing at all
- Feeling that self-harm and suicide are the only ways to cope
- Feeling that you have to put on a mask and hide what you are feeling
- Feeling that you can’t ever talk about what happened
- Being afraid all the time that something bad is going to happen to you or those close to you
These feelings can be common after rape, sexual abuse or sexual assault. We believe that they can get better with the right support. We also know that young people who have been through rape or sexual assault are survivors and that recovery and living a full life again is possible.
We know that it can help to have someone alongside you to listen to you and to help you understand and cope with the many difficult feelings and thoughts that come after living through a trauma or sexual abuse.
What can help after I have been through rape, sexual abuse or trauma?
After rape or sexual abuse there can be so many mixed feelings all jumbled up together or there can be no feelings at all, with just feelings of being numb. Young people can have fears about not being believed, or being judged or may be worried about what might happen if they do tell. Often all these feelings stop young people from getting the help and support that they need to recover. It can be very hard to deal with all of these feelings alone and it can sometimes feel that you are the only one who is going through these experiences. It can help to know that what you are going through is because of the abuse and trauma and that with support these feelings can get better. It does not always have to be this way. Other young people have found that some of the following things can help them start on the road to recovery and healing. Some of these things can be hard to start on our own and it can be useful to have someone you trust to be alongside you as you start to recover.
- Relaxation and being kind to yourself
- Having healthy routines, eating well and exercising
- Looking at ways to manage nightmares or flashbacks and how to get a good night’s sleep
- Finding ways to feel safe again
- Having healthy relationships where you are supported
- Journaling, getting creative and discovering your strengths and skills
- Doing things that you enjoy and having fun again
- Learning about your feelings and ways of coping with them
If you would like to find out more about how we can support you or to ask about any of the information on this page, you can phone us on our local rate support line for an initial chat Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.30am till 1pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1pm till 4.30pm (03330 066909).