Making the decision to get help
© 2006 Pandora’s Aquarium
Making the decision to seek help after you are raped or sexually abuse is a hard, but is also very worthwhile. If you decide to look for support there are many options open to you.
1. A Crisis Line
If you feel very distressed or do not know how to go about getting support a good place to start is with a crisis line. You will receive support from trained specialists who will be able to tell you what support is available to you locally.
2. See a Dr. or GP
A doctor is often the first port of call - particularly if you have just been assaulted. Firstly they can assist you with any physical concerns you may have such as injuries and fear of pregnancy and STIs. They will also be able to refer you to a counsellor or therapist or tell you about in support groups in your area.
You may find it helpful to try a talking therapy such as counselling or psychotherapy. Looking at what happened to you with the help of a professional can be a useful process and it can be very comforting to know that you have a space for yourself each week. Make sure that you are comfortable with your therapist and never accept a therapist who minimises what happened to you. Sadly just because someone is a professional does not mean they understand the issues that surround rape. It can be terribly painful to experience invalidation from a therapist or counsellor, please do not internalise it or accept it. There are some excellent therapists out there, some who will specialise in sexual assault issues.
4. Other forms of therapy
There are many different types of therapy that you may wish to explore. Ask your Dr about potential art/drama/dance therapy that is available in your area.
If you are suffering from depression or PTSD you may wish to consider medication such as anti-depressants. There are many different brands so if you do choose to take medication then make sure you find the right one for you with the help of your Dr. You could also consider alternative remedies such as herbal or flower remedies. Again your Dr. should be able to advise you about facilities in your area.
6. Group Support
You may be lucky enough to have a support group in your area. If you feel this would be helpful to you do not hesitate to contact your local group. Never feel that what happened to you was not enough to ‘qualify’ for this type of support. There are no grades of rape and you deserve as much support as anyone else.
7. On-line support
A good place to get support is on-line. Many people find that it is easier to type about their experiences than it is to talk and the internet can be a good place to start or support your healing. Be careful to choose a place that is well moderated, like the Pandora's Aquarium online support group, message board, and chat room for rape and sexual abuse survivors.
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