North West Sexual Violence Awareness Week – 8-14 November 2021
North West Sexual Violence Awareness Week aims to raise awareness of sexual violence and the support services available to survivors. It takes place from 8-14 November 2021.
The phrase sexual violence is an umbrella term that refers to crimes like sexual abuse and assault. It refers to any unwanted sexual act or activity such as rape, sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment etc.
Statistics show that there is an increase in sexual offences but the number of people reporting or seeking support is very low in comparison. There can be several reasons as to why a survivor chooses not to speak out, such as fear of not being believed, not knowing where to go etc. All of these feelings are normal.
This awareness week aims to reassure survivors, and anyone supporting them, that they will be listened to and how they can access support. Whether you choose to report to the police or not is your choice. Regardless, you can still access free counselling, support and even have a forensic medical so that evidence can be collected if ever it’s needed.
This week we’re promoting our Male and Female Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Courses and Social Cafes.
Our Survivors of sexual abuse course is 12 sessions over a 12 week duration. This course is suitable for any individual who has experienced sexual abuse as a young person. The course is facilitated by Jeanette– themselves a survivor of sexual abuse – who has been facilitating such courses over many years.
Over the first six weeks participants are made to feel at ease, comfortable and enabled to talk and share their thoughts and feelings, whilst listening to others experiences. The facilitator enables individuals to share ongoing symptoms relating to their abuse including: possible self-blame; common feelings of guilt; problematic emotional difficulties; flashbacks and possible hallucinations.
Gradually participants are introduced to various session based exercises exploring their sense of self and feelings relating to this. Coping strategies are introduced, shared and explored within the group with the aim of seeking to enhance wellbeing, outlook and self-esteem. Together the group are encouraged and supported on a pathway to understanding and recovery.
Over the remaining six week of the course participants are given the opportunity to learn and practice self-help, CBT-based, strategies from the “Living Life to the Full” programme, for dealing with and improving; low mood and related inactivity; negative thinking styles; poor self-esteem; problem solving and solution focused approaches. At the time of course conclusion, participants have improved wellbeing levels, with feelings of positivity and a strong sense of empowerment.
I don’t know where I would have been without the survivors. I am so thankful for this course
- Survivor group member
Author: Hayley Price
Posted on: 8th November 2021