hrcsasAdvice from Friends Relatives and PartnersWhen supporting someone close to you who has been abused, you may need support yourself. H.R.C.S.A.S is always prepared to offer support and help for those affected by rape and sexual assault. When a women or girl who has been sexually abused or raped she may feel: - Afraid

- Distressed
- Humiliated
- Angry
- Confused
- Numb
- Guilty

Her feelings may vary greatly from day to day or month to month. So how best to help & support?From our experience of counselling women and girls, and their family and friends, over many years, we have realised how important support to those around her can be. Positive support from family and friends can help a woman or girl begin to gain control of her life again after suffering sexual abuse. The response of those near to her can sometimes make things more difficult however so we have included advice about what is best to avoid doing if you want her to feel more confident and safe after an assault.

What You can doWomen have individual responses to being abused, but what always seems to help is having someone around who will listen and not rush her to 'get better' or 'forget about it', someone who will try to understand how she herself is feeling and what she wants in the way of support.
What is always essential is being believed and feeling sure that the people she tells do believe her. Whatever the circumstances of the abuse, there is always one dominant feature - that it was something forced on a women or girl, against her own will, and that it deliberately snatched control from her, ignoring what she wanted. The use of force, however physically damaging, is always a violent act, causing distress and humiliation. To help her regain control over her life and begin to rebuild her sense of worth it is essential to recognise how upsetting and frightening it is to be forced against your will in this way, especially as it is often accompanied by further threats to her.

Women and girls who have been raped or sexually abused lose their feelings of safety and trust. With your help she needs to begin to rebuild those feelings of control, trust and self-worth.
The facts show very clearly that women and girls of all ages, of all appearances and in any circumstance can be raped or sexually abused. Whatever the circumstances women should not be forced against their will, without their consent to any sexual abuse or violence. The only way to create greater safety for women and girls in the long term is to challenge the behaviour of those men who attack women, not to blame her, it is not her fault. Because of the myths around about 'women asking for it' or provoking assault, and about men 'not being able to help it' and forcing a sexual assault on a woman, she may already be feeling at least partly responsible for what has happened. She may be anxious to tell people for fear they will blame her or not believe her. It is important and very helpful for her to place the blame where it belongs - with the man or men who abused her.



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---------------------- Advice for Friends, Relatives & Partners
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