Below are a few questions that have been asked, I am hoping by discussing these questions there may be some clarity for some.
1) How are the partners of sexual violence survivors to continue to support them through their healing journey ?
As a partner in a relationship with a survivor; the road can at time be rough. A survivor going through her/his healing journey needs your support and care. But don’t let that care and support become too overbearing. A survivor needs you to trust them to make decisions for themselves, to empower them. The fear of flashbacks or triggers is something that a survivor deals with constantly; don’t let this hamper their growth. She/He knows their body, they are working their way back to feeling in control; they need you to allow them to do that. Being cognizant of your partners’ actions, reactions and statements is important, communication is key. They have confided in you that they were sexually victimized; they don’t want to be treated like they are broken, fragile individuals but as strong, competent individuals. By being over-protective you run the risk of re-victimizing her/him; you may reinforce the belief that they don’t know what is right for them. Let them lead the way forward, support and listen to them but also learn to trust them.
(2) Should a survivor confront her/his perpetrator ?”
The answer to this is it depends – it can be healing but it can also cause further victimization. A survivor should be prepared for the fact that the confrontation may not yield the responses or answers she/he seeks. Ask yourself what the goal is from the confrontation and then try to be prepared for all possibilities. Expecting to hear sorry, or yes I did do that to you may not happen, and even if it does it may not make you feel the way you expected. So there is no yes or no answer to this question; what is most important is being prepared for the fact that things may not turn out as you expect and being ok with that.
(3) What helps a survivor who is healing ?
I don’t think there is any one answer to this question as different things have worked for different people. Some people have support, some people have reading, writing, painting/drawing, dancing, cooking, music, exercise, etc. The thing is, it will be different and individual to every survivor even when the category may be the same, by that I mean one person may enjoy reading comics, another romance or horror. For me it was reading and my education; learning and understanding help me on my healing journey.
(4) Is the road to recovery identical to myself or Velika’s ?
No, no one expects you to decide to write or speak publicly about what you’ve been through. We chose this path because we wanted to help and we wanted to show that speaking about the crime committed against you is possible, but we don’t expect or require anyone to do the same to heal. How one chooses to heal, again is individual to every survivor. We will all find our own path and the thing that works best for us. Don’t pressure yourself, don’t try to mimic someone else’s path; heal on your own terms in your own way. Know that we are here to help should you ever need. We welcome your questions via email, Facebook, twitter, tumblr, wordpress, our PROSAF webpage or text. We can continue to answer questions that you may have through our articles. The information to the various pages is at the end of the article.
We are not sure how many of you are aware of the 16 days of activism against gender violence. It started on the 25th November and ended on the 10th December. We ask that you educate yourself in some way about sexual violence; look up one fact on sexual violence, one side-effect, one way you can help a survivor and share it with someone. Do your part to address sexual violence in St. Lucia.
We would like to let you know that. We at PROSAF are always here to listen and support you. Feel free to contact us via the information below. If you are interested in becoming a sexual assault advocate please contact us for further information. Remember you are not alone. You are strong and brave. You will get through your healing process but it takes time and patience. We are here to help and listen. Feel free to contact us if you ever need a place to offload or vent. We are available for group and individual counseling.
SouyenneDathorne, Velika Lawrence
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – email@example.com
Facebook: SURVIVING SEXUAL AB– USE IN THE CARIBBEAN: https://www.facebook.com/pages/PROSAF-Surviving-Sexual-Abuse-in-the-Caribbean/165341356853908
Twitter: @PROSAF_SUEEZZY: https://twitter.com/PROSAF_Sueezzy
Webpage: http://www.prosaf.net/ – under construction
Telephone: 1-758-724-9991(sue) 1-758-723-6466(vel)