What to do after its happened to you… or someone else. What to do after sexual assault or violence.
I never want to think anything nasty would ever happen to anyone ever again… but then again we know that it’s just not possible. Sexual Violence can, and still happens more frequently than we know- in fact domestic violence and sexual assault occurs in ⅓ women and 1/6 men. Thats only what we know… and not what goes unreported.
I am someone who knows this and with a background of over 10 years in policing, I know that the stats are just a scratch on the surface of what is really happening. So it goes without saying that cultivating a safe space to talk about some of the hardest things imaginable, is essential. This includes workplaces, schools, families and individuals.
In giving you, or someone you know the best chance of recovery post incident, I have put together a few tips and things that I believe MAY help should anything like this happen (immediatley after an incident).
Tips- If something has happened to your child
- Call Police or get help. Your child is a victim of a crime (make sure they are in a safe space to disclose)
- Remain calm
- Believe them
- Make sure you are in a safe space to make an informed decision- if you don’t feel very informed, whether you decide to make a complaint or not you can seek advice from the support agencies and Police. You can find a few on my website at kellyhumphries.com
- Understand that your responses are normal, but they may not always be helpful.
- Don’t bathe or shower your child. As awful as it is, their clothes and body contain vital evidence for Police.
- Speak from a heart of love and concern. Provide reassurance, reassurance and more reassurance. By knowing what your child needs, you will know the appropriate response… love your child and be patient with yourself and their emotions. Remind them that they are loved and valuable. ENSURE that if you are angry, you tell them that it is not because of them, but at the situation. That they have done nothing wrong.
- Do not blame them (Trust me this happens, unfortunately)
- Try not to ask too many questions until after police have spoken to them. Your questioning may contaminate evidence. If you must ask, then ask open-ended questions… “tell me more about that…”
- Get your child some form of support- as soon as possible. Allow them the opportunity to speak freely and give them the choice to speak to a counsellor without you being there. In your protective nature you want to be present in everything. There are some things that they will not want you to know. Allow them to take their own healing journey and to own their own story.
- Get some support for yourself and your family as well in order to be the best support for your child that you can be.
If something has happened to you
- Call Police or get help. You are a victim of crime.
- Remain calm
- Understand that your responses are normal, but they may not always be helpful. Be kind to yourself and patient.
- Make sure you are in a safe space to make an informed decision- if you don’t feel very informed, whether you decide to make a complaint or not you can seek advice from the support agencies. You can find a few on my website at kellyhumphries.com
- Don’t bathe or shower. Don’t douche. As awful as it is, your clothes contain vital evidence for Police.
- Write down all you can to recall what happened. The location. The identity and description of the offender. Their car, their smell, whether they had facial hair or not. Their accent and any thing that is different about them.
- You don’t need to involve police if you don’t wish to. But I highly recommend it. If you choose not to involve police, please take yourself to a medical facility for assistance and to get checked.
- Ensure that you speak to someone. I left it a very long time to talk to someone and this in one of my biggest regrets. Don’t wait. When I say someone, I don’t just mean a friend. Talk to someone who specialises in sexual violence counselling support. There are certain things that occur in sexual violence scenarios and it is sometimes more helpful to have someone who deals with this frequently.
Remember you and your family are valuable. I hope nothing like this ever happens to anyone in your family- it is the reason I have written blogs about what signs (Physical, Psychological, Behavioural) to look for, grooming patterns etc… in terms of preventing harm and sexual assault and violence occuring.
Even if you never have anything like this happen, make a decision that you can be someone who can stand up and help those who need it and be someone who breaks cycles and not perpetuates them. What I mean by this is, when something happens to someone around us, we have a choice. That is to believe them, validate their experience, reassure them that they are safe and show them love… or we can allow our emotions to rule us, and/or indifference and as a result it could really harm a persons ability to heal. Be a warrior for someone who is in the midst of crisis. You may just save their life.
Much Love Kel 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