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Advice please: supporting someone attacked in the past

(17 Posts)
pombear Tue 20-Sep-11 22:35:09

Lovely community of Mumsnet: I have been part of Mumsnet for so many years, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying, sometimes raising an eyebrow, and learning from you all at some time. I am a habitual lurker, have never needed to start a post, so please be gentle.

I'm not sure whether this is the right place to ask this question, but it seems from history that many people on here may be able to give some advice. Please let me know if I need to move it to another topic.

Someone today confided in me that a recent event where they were at risk of being raped has triggered off memories of an attack when she was at university.

I have no experience of this, but know of so many threads where people have posted advice on where to get support on this but I'm not sure what to put in 'search' to find them.

From talking to her, the attack at university she has worked at 'putting it aside' and 'getting on with her life' - advice she received at the time from the close relative that she confided in.

I know from reading so many posts over the years that this was likely to not be the right advice, and is likely to have led to the feelings she's experiencing now, with regards to trust, her own self esteem and other issues.

I did my best to support and listen to her, but I have no idea who to direct her to for the best support and advice to help her with all that's going on to support her in recognising that she did nothing wrong, and that, far from being 'one of those things', that it was rape and that it was not her fault and she does not bring these things 'upon herself' but rather that 'no' is 'no' whatever the situation. She doesn't have a great relationship with her GP, so may not feel comfortable with that as a start point.

She's not a mum, so unlikely to stray onto Mumsnet at the moment and I would love to be able to show her this thread, as I did tell her she was not alone, or unusual and that others have experienced the same, from what I have seen on this forum (yes, Mumsnet yet again moves into non-mum, 'shallow' aspects - sorry Yasmin!), so please bear that in mind, before you use this as a 'theoretical' thread for discussion - it could help someone rebuild some of her life. I would love to be able to show her this thread.

So - the main question is - what agencies could help in starting to support her with all these issues.

Thank you in advance, and hope that the long post doesn't mean too many grammatical errors or too much information - oh, and if I don't post back too much it doesn't mean a) I'm a troll, b) I've flounced off c) can't be bothered - I just don't get online much!

UsingMainlySpoons Tue 20-Sep-11 22:38:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

UsingMainlySpoons Tue 20-Sep-11 22:39:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pombear Tue 20-Sep-11 22:43:53

Thank you UsingMainlySpoons - knew of these, but wanted to make sure before recommending. She is England based.

Thank you again.

UsingMainlySpoons Tue 20-Sep-11 22:45:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AnyFucker Tue 20-Sep-11 22:51:47

Rape Crisis

pombear Tue 20-Sep-11 22:56:21

Thank you AF too - small question, when you have been conditioned into not calling it rape, will rape crisis recognise this and support you through the process of moving towards this definition. I'm very aware of the language that my friend has been using, probably to, once again, 'move forward', and that the word 'rape' is a difficult concept for her to deal with.

AnyFucker Tue 20-Sep-11 22:58:37

If she says at the beginning that she has a problem with using the word "rape", they will not push it until/if she is ready for it

AnyFucker Tue 20-Sep-11 23:00:36

For example, the counsellors will use "sexual attack" because they know "rape" is a very triggering word

AnyFucker Tue 20-Sep-11 23:02:17

this page on the Rape Crisis website is reassuring

pombear Tue 20-Sep-11 23:04:52

Thank you AF, a separate voice to point in the direction of support will help so much, I think as, as much as I could have directed her, I think another voice will help so much as a reassurance that it's OK.

AnyFucker Tue 20-Sep-11 23:08:58

I wish your friend so well, PB

I only came to terms with a similar thing that happened to me at a young age in the last few years (am in my 40's now)

MN, and a certain vocal poster helped me very greatly in that respect (nods to Dittany)

I hid my trauma behind a bunch of rape myths to protect myself against having to deal with what happened

I blamed myself, thought I brought it on myself

I was wrong, so so wrong

pombear Tue 20-Sep-11 23:16:22

AF - and that is why I came straight to Mumsnet. Never underestimate the affect you can have with anonymous posts in a public forum. (and I've read many of your posts and thought that in the past). I am 'lucky' enough to have experienced various shit along the journey, but not this one, and I hope that for anyone that reads this, it doesn't raise uncomfortable issues, but I knew there were people here that could advise and help.

I also told my friend that I knew of people on here that had had to deal with these things so many years after the event and I'm sorry you've had to hold that stuff for so many years before coming to terms. I would love for my friend to get the support she needs now, in her 20s to bring her into the rest of her life realising she is a valid, lovely member of the world who deserves love and respect.

This is why I heart (apols for everyone who hates that phrase) Mumsnet - so many things are voiced on here that so many people fear to voice, including my lovely friend, who I will hopefully help glance at your replies to realise she's not alone, not odd, and certainly not in the wrong.

AnyFucker Tue 20-Sep-11 23:21:55

What a wonderful friend you sound.

She will have had others who will have minimised her experience because they themselves are uncomfortable with facing stark reality. It's not always their fault, they are as much a victim of our rape-excusing society as everyone else is.

Speaking to people (or just reading, if she isn't ready to talk) who don't buy into those myths will be a revelation for her. Very, very triggering be prepared for any and all "meltdowns".

AnyFucker Tue 20-Sep-11 23:27:44

this thread may open up some discussion

It would certainly make her feel less isolated. Some very strong women have come under attack and eventually come out stronger. Although the content makes you feel so very shocked that sexual molestation of women is so very common, it is affirming of the act that it doesn't have to define you.

AnyFucker Tue 20-Sep-11 23:28:06

fact not act

pombear Tue 20-Sep-11 23:45:35

oh - last post lost in the internet, so apologies if it appears twice.

AF - you are amazing, thank you. Our conversation covered off exactly the same things in between the two 'major' events we discussed, and shows how many people have experienced such things. It just goes to reaffirm that it's not right, unfortunatley is not unusual, and that you are NOT somehow responsible for just for being born as the female gender (reminded me of things I have passed off as 'small things' too, that looking back, weren't).

Thank you.

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