You can ring Rape Crisis if something is happening in your life now, or if you are having difficulties about something that has happened in the past. You can also phone if you are worried about your child, someone else in your family, or someone you know. If you ring us we can offer emotional support, over the phone or face to face, and counselling, practical support and information. We will not tell you what to do or judge your actions.
Counselling provides a space to help you gain a clearer understanding of yourself and your situation. Rape Crisis counsellors will never force you to talk about anything you are not ready to. At any of your appointments the counsellor will answer any questions you have about counselling or other support needs. You and your counsellor will review whether you feel the counselling is meeting your needs on a regular basis.
Deciding and making a commitment to have counselling is a very powerful and life affirming choice. In counselling, you will be looking at yourself, your relationships, and your life in general. Counselling is not always easy or comfortable and perhaps the hardest part to come to terms with is the fact that you have to do the work yourself. Your counsellor can help to support you and explain what is happening, but she cannot do the work for you. You will have to do the remembering, feel all of the emotions and make the changes. There are no easy answers and although you may get angry with your counsellor, you must keep reminding yourself that she can support you through this stage. Feelings can be confusing for some women who are going to counselling and they often say, 'I felt bad before I started this, but I feel ten times worse now'. At times you may feel like running away and forgetting all about it, this is a normal part of the counselling process. It often feels like it gets worse before it gets better, but it's important to remember, it will get easier.
One of the first things to be learned in counselling is that it is healthy to have feelings. Some women are afraid of 'cracking up' or going 'mad' when they start to experience emotion. When you work with a counsellor who is right for you, then you should feel understood and supported. Women are encouraged to express their feelings in safe and appropriate ways. This may well mean going through long bouts of sadness and depression with many painful tears. Counselling does not bring with it the promise of total happiness. There will be other issues and situations in your life that can and may cause pain. Nor does it offer the possibility of being able to forget all about the abuse. What it offers is the ability to accept the abuse and live with it as part of your life. You will never forget the abuse but you will remember it with less acute pain.
As time goes on you will be able to recognise your own patterns and to feel and interpret your own emotions. You may have to face things that you do not want to face, and make changes that are very hard to make or see things in a different way. A lost childhood can never be regained. This is one of the saddest realities that many women have to face. You will probably feel differently about yourself, your relationships and the way you are living, as well as the life style you lead. You have to be prepared to take these changes in your stride and believe that at the end of it you will know where everything fits and belongs. The aim of counselling is to enable each person to achieve that for herself.
This means that you will have to work between sessions. It is not enough to come and see your counsellor every week, fortnight, or month and then forget all about it during the in between times. It is your work and what you need most is courage , if you have survived sexual abuse then you may already have plenty of it . It takes courage from the moment you begin to think 'maybe I need to work this out', right through the very end. It takes courage to believe that you can work it out and that you have the right to do so. It takes great courage to face ourselves as we really are.