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Not taken seriously about rape / sexual assault

(11 Posts)
AristotlesTrousers Tue 24-Jan-17 06:59:59

Has anybody had a similar experience when seeking help from their local SARC (sexual assault referral clinic)?

Over the last year or two I've been coming to terms with a sexual assault (an oral rape, along with a year long slander campaign) that I was subject to at high school in the 90s when I was seventeen. I won't go into details here, as I don't want to give too much away and have to delete the thread again (done that a couple of times before), but I'm not sure where to go from here and I could really do with some advice.

I went to my local SARC to speak to somebody about what happened towards the end of last year, but I didn't get the impression they took me very seriously. They didn't seem to think it was worth my while reporting to the police, although they assigned me an ISVA and I was referred to counselling. I had one meeting with the ISVA, and she didn't think I ought to report either. She kept telling me 'what boys of a certain age' are like and what would it take for me to draw a line under the experience, like I was just supposed to forget about it. She phoned me up a few weeks later to close the case and made a comment about how it's so easy to overthink things.

The counsellor didn't really want me to talk about the assault either - she said I was focussing on it too much (I assumed that after years of not talking about it, that was kind of the whole point!), and I ought to think more about my boundaries at the time and why I got myself into the position I did in the first place. Now, I'm quite aware that my boundaries were a bit fucked up at the time, but how does that excuse the assault?? She even suggested that I contact my abuser, because, you know, people change and all that!!

Now, I don't know if it's just me, that because what happened to me was so long and complicated to explain, and people lose interest or miss the salient points, or if this is a common occurrence. I'd love to know if anybody else has had a similar experience (or not) and if anyone has any ideas as to where I can go from here?

I feel I've exhausted all other possibilities, short of actually reporting the guy to the police, which tbh, I'm in two minds about because he'll probably do the same as he did in high school and trash my reputation all over again (and be believed over me). I'm not sure I want to put myself through it, but I'm so angry right now I feel I need to do something.

tectonicplates Tue 24-Jan-17 07:05:30

You've been treated appallingly and I'm disgusted on your behalf.

Could you contact an organisation such as Rape Crisis? Or can you afford private counselling? You really need to talk about it with someone who'll listen. I promise there are far better counsellers out there, and you got a bad one.

AristotlesTrousers Tue 24-Jan-17 08:02:19

Thank you techtonic.

I can't afford a private counsellor, unfortunately.

It was Rape Crisis who told me about the SARC, although the email correspondence with them was much more helpful, I have to say. I'm not sure what else they can do to help though.

I feel completely and utterly on my own with this.

AristotlesTrousers Tue 24-Jan-17 08:05:15

Sorry, tectonic, not techtonic

AristotlesTrousers Tue 24-Jan-17 11:35:25

Bump. smile

AristotlesTrousers Tue 24-Jan-17 13:23:36

Just moving this thread from Chat to Feminism to see if I get any more responses. smile

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 24-Jan-17 13:35:04

Is there any way to officially complain to the SARC about the comments and attitude of the ISVA and the counsellor? I am appalled at the way they've minimised this and even tried to blame you for it.

HelenDenver Tue 24-Jan-17 14:03:03

I'm so sorry you were treated badly.

We believe you.

Fairyflaps Tue 24-Jan-17 14:05:22

I would go back to the Rape Crisis group if I were you. My experience of communicating with our local SARC (not as a client) was that it was very much police procedure centred not client centred. They are looking at your case as to whether they think it is likely to get to court, not from a holistic point of view of you as a victim. Their attitudes mirrored those of our local police force, which sadly aren't encouraging.
Whereas our local rape crisis centre is much more about supporting you, whatever you decide to do.
It sounds as though this is something you need to work through with someone, so if the rape crisis centre does not have the resources to support you, try asking for counselling through your GP.

TataEs Tue 24-Jan-17 15:00:02

i believe you.
you deserve the help you are asking for.
boys of a certain age are not just anything. there is no excuse. it's appalling a rape councillor would have that attitude.
could you go back to rape crisis and tell them that you were not being supported as hoped and can they recommend someone else.
ultimately a complaint should be made and they may be able to support u in that.

AristotlesTrousers Tue 24-Jan-17 19:33:43

Thanks for the support. smile

My experience of communicating with our local SARC (not as a client) was that it was very much police procedure centred not client centred. They are looking at your case as to whether they think it is likely to get to court, not from a holistic point of view of you as a victim. Their attitudes mirrored those of our local police force, which sadly aren't encouraging.
Ah, that's interesting. It did seem to be a rather formal setting, with somebody taking notes and a statement that I had to sign. They weren't unpleasant, but I did leave feeling like a bit of a time waster, and then after the consequent experiences with the ISVA and the counsellor, I did start to wonder whether I AM making a mountain out of a molehill. But, having thought about it a lot since, I am certain that I am not.

I think I shall have to email Rape Crisis again and see what they say. I don't think it'd take much to tip me over the edge and report him to the police to be honest (although I expect he won't be charged). Am just worried about making a decision in anger that I can't go back on - at least I've blocked the fucker on FB now so I don't have to see inane comments he makes on other people's statuses.

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