Sexual assault story... I hope it helps other people Watch

emmmalou
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I've seen quite a few posts on here about people who have been victims of sexual assault and rape, so I thought I would share my story in an attempt to show other victims that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and this sort of violence is not something that should define you.

In my first term of university, I was sexually assaulted and raped by a man I met in a club. I was drunk and dressed revealingly, so felt like I was to blame. Straight after it happened, I confided in two of my friends who were as supportive as they could be, and told me that it wasn't my fault. They did everything they could at the time, but I didn't truly believe that I wasn't to blame. I didn't feel comfortable talking about it, and ended up completely blocking it out- I refused to think about it, refused to deal with it and told myself that I needed to move on and be happy. So I was.

I went home for the Christmas holidays and really enjoyed being in a different environment. I didn't think about it very often and really thought that it hadn't affected me and I had moved on. However, I returned to university after the holidays and my mental health began to deteriorate. I was reminded of it all the time- even places that barely had links to it made me panic. I had panic attacks almost daily at one point, nightmares every time I went to sleep and was on-edge all the time. It was exhausting. I was thinking about it more and more and was at breaking point.

Luckily, I got in contact with somebody who'd had a similar experience. She was able to empathise with how I was feeling and offer really helpful support and advice. I really can't thank her enough.

But it wasn't enough and I was still really struggling to cope. Eventually, I contacted a tutor at uni who was very empathetic and really tried to help. She arranged for me to have trauma-focussed counselling at a local centre for people who have been sexually assaulted or raped. The focus of the sessions was to talk in detail about the event, which allowed me to process it and deal with it. Now, when I think about it, I'm no longer scared. I have overcome the nightmares and panic attacks. I can focus on my studies and social life much more. No, I'm not completely over it. I'm still having counselling to deal with feelings of guilt and other emotions that have been brought up by this. But I can definitely see that everything is getting better, and I feel very optimistic about the future.

I wanted to write this to assure anybody who has had a similar experience that with the right help, you can get through anything. If anybody wants to message me, you're welcome to. It can help to talk to somebody who perhaps has a vague idea of how you are feeling. Please don't suffer in silence- help is out there and it honestly does make a difference.
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Jo from AVA
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Hi Emmmalou

Thank you SO much for sharing your story.
I am so sorry to hear about what happened but so happy that you eventually got the support you need.
Your story shows how important it is to tell someone and to get the right support. It can be so hard to take that first step and I am sure that people reading this will really benefit from hearing how it went for you.

You are awesome!!!



take care
Jo
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