10 Things Your Rape Crisis Counsellor Wants You To Know
1. You can talk to us about anything
We are not here to judge you or any of your behaviours. We care that you feel able to bring anything to the session that you are grappling with or that other people around you are confronting you about.
2. Healing from trauma is tricky
Sometimes it means grappling with very difficult emotions and memories that can leave you feeling ‘raw’ after a session. This does not mean that you are doing something wrong or that you are not healing. It can be a sign that you are working on things.
3. Be patient and proud that you have taken the steps
Not feeling better after one session? Struggling to implement the coping strategies that have been suggested? That’s okay, give yourself time to adjust to the changes and figure out what works for your personal healing journey. Seeking help is already a courageous step.
4. Counselling does not mean that you have to tell us what happened
You can (of course) tell us what happened. But counselling is about how you manage and cope afterwards and how you experience yourself in the world and would prefer to experience yourself.
5. We are here to listen
We recognize that guilt, self-doubt and the ‘what-ifs’ are often tricky visitors. We hope to help you shift them so that you can live the life that you need.
6. There is no ‘right’ time for counselling
Some survivors come within days of the incident, others seek counselling years after sexual violence. We are available to help you at whatever phase you are in your recovery. When you are ready, you are welcome to reach out.
7. Counselling can help
You are not likely to forget what happened. How you feel when you think about it or are triggered in some way can change.
8. Seeking counselling is a strength and not a weakness
It can sometimes look as though others are dealing with bigger things or are dealing with things in a better way. We are interested in helping you explore the strength you have within you.
9. Recovery is possible
One of the myths rape culture promotes is that after sexual violence you will forever be broken and tainted. This idea reduces one’s life to being very narrowly defined and unfair to those other incredible sides of you that we would like to assist you get in touch with.
10. We believe you
What you were wearing at the time was not an invitation to be raped. Any time someone blames you for the crime remember, it was not your actions but the actions of the perpetrator that were criminal.
Shiralee McDonald (Counselling Coordinator)
Ronel Koekemoer (Observatory Counselling Coordinator)