The worst thing you can possibly imagine has just happened... or maybe you heard that it’s happening right now. Perhaps… it’s an ongoing thing. Maybe a friend….or even your very own child. Perhaps it is happening to you…!
As you will know my heart and passion is to help break cycles of abuse. A little about what I am doing with this blog series can be found here. I have been concentrating on getting my book #UnscathedBeauty ready to publish and been a little slack on the blogs- sorry.
My last blog, “Beating the Beast” was brilliant in terms of ideas and strategies to help prevent abuse. In the unfortunate event that you miss something- or something does happen to someone in your world, like a Rape, Sexual Assault, Sexual Abuse or Child Abuse, what are you going to do? How do you handle it? What action should you take?
So much sexual assault and abuse goes unreported and I understand the shame and guilt surrounding this- because this is my story too. #metoo So I have put the following in the hope that perhaps it will help. (This is specifically about what to do if Sexual Assault or Abuse happens and your immediate response.)
What if sexual abuse or sexual violence is happening right now?
Be reminded – for any of the responses I have to these questions, it is my best advice. I am not a doctor, or a clinician, nor am I present in your world. I have a psychology degree, and a Policing background, but all ideas here are based on my own experience, and through a little research. While I believe I am credible, understand that all situations and circumstances are different. I cannot tell you what to do; but I can tell you what I know.
“Firstly, if you are in immediate danger: Call Police! In Australia the number is ‘000.’ In other countries the number will be different but call for emergency assistance immediately.”
Even if you are scared to tell police, they can make your situation safe so you can at least take the time to understand what has happened and make a decision you feel comfortable with about whether you want Police to investigate the matter or not, or what step you should take next.
If something has happening to my child, or is currently happening to me what is the first thing that I should do?
Tough question! As above- if you are in immediate danger: Call Police! In Australia the number is ‘000.’ In other countries the number will be different but call for emergency assistance immediately.
Get yourself or your child or family member to a safe place so you can make an informed decision about what to do next.
If this is an ongoing matter- and you have been a victim of long-term sexual violence or abuse, then you have possibly already learnt how the perpetrator behaves… and how to ‘stay safe’ with this particular perpetrator. (What I mean is that whilst it’s not okay and you don’t feel safe, you probably have already learnt some of your own strategies that have kept you going, you might have already learnt what the perpetrator wants… and what will keep you alive and safe. When you are free and away from the perpetrator, you can and definitely should get help)
You will be surprised at what you already know about how to survive until you can get help. My response here may make some people angry- particularly if you have never experienced sexual abuse or violence. What I am saying and as you can tell from my words so far- is that ab
use on any level is never okay. Do what you can to stay safe until you can get help.
If the perpetrator is someone who is escalating with violence then do everything you can to fight and stay safe.
Every scenario is different and we all have certain strengths and weaknesses which we can use to help us. Survivors have a great gift-it is learnt and that is resourcefulness. Use it.
Furthermore every perpetrator is not the same, so the decision you make must feel right for you at the time.
A few tips if someone tries to assault you: (Again- every situation is different)
- Stay Calm- take note of your surroundings and remember all that you can, in as much detail as you can.
- Consider and assess the level of safety there is in resisting, and what may be about to happen or is happening to you.
- Yell No! Do not act in a friendly manner but be extremely firm with the offender. (sometimes, like in my experience my perpetrator was actually a real coward- but he was also known to me)
- Yell, “No this is rape!” Your words may scare the offender to stop.
- Fight back physically- yell ‘No’ and run away as soon as you can.
- Consider passive options of resistance- distractions; fainting, vomiting, urinating.
- Emergency alert applications on your phone like “Thread” app available through the Carly Ryan Foundation- carlyryanfoundation.com or “Help Me” app- available through the Daniel Morcombe Foundation http://www.danielmorcombe.com.au
Sexual assault is never okay. EVER. It is never your fault either. Sexual assault is about a perpetrators need for power and control over the victim. Perpetrators should be dealt with by the law- arrested and charged accordingly.
I will write another blog this week which will explain what to do in the event that something actually does occur and what steps you should take, to not only look after yourself after an incident, but how to then go and make a report to police. I will also put together something about how to be safe generally and reduce the chances of this happening at all.
Much Love, xo
Every situation is different and each situation has its own very complex circumstances. There are no hard and fast answers, what I say here is my experience- and my own opinion supported at times by research.
This stuff is not black and white. It just can’t be. What is black and white/ right and wrong is that Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence is never ok, and it is never under any circumstances right.
What is grey is in fact terribly dark… That is the silence that sits surrounding this topic. The shame and absolute fear so heavily laden on the shoulders of victims that the mere thought of speaking brings crippling anxiety and fear.
Lets change that… together.
For further support you can click HERE:
If you are in immediate danger, please call 000 in Australia.
To report sexual abuse to police- please attend a Police Station or call 131444 for Policelink. (Australia)
To seek support or assistance you can contact me, www.kellyhumphries.com (I am a single entity who can offer advice, and personal coaching. I am not a psychologist or registered counsellor, but I am very approachable and happy to help.
You can contact the Centre for Sexual Violence at http://www.casv.org.au and download any of their brochures and information, and likewise Bravehearts– https://bravehearts.org.au/
For internet related advice please contact The Carly Ryan Foundation http://www.carlyryanfoundation.com