SUSU, led by VP Welfare and Community Laura Barr, is marking Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
In a post published on the SUSU website blog, Barr, whilst acknowledging that this month can present challenges by being ‘emotionally exhausting‘, sets out some advice for those who may need it during this time of national lockdown.
There is no requirement to use this time to ‘heal’. Just because you may have some more time on your hands, doesn’t mean you have the required brain space or surrounding environment to really unpick or heal from your trauma. There is no pressure to use this time to suddenly ‘fix’ yourself or to confront anything. Use this time to look after yourself.
Barr is keen to express that Sexual Assault Awareness Month does not mean that you must engage with campaigns; just being is enough.
Barr concludes her blog entry with three pieces of practical advice for those whose friends have opened up to them about sexual violence:
- Believe them. Even if you have doubts about what they’ve said, or you don’t understand the situation, believe that regardless of all of that, they have been impacted and need a friend.
- Don’t offer advice on what they ‘should’ have done, this adds to feelings of guilt and shame. Just listen and make them feel heard.
- Remind them you aren’t a therapist, and point them in the direction of people who have been trained and specialized to help. This is pretty much always the kindest thing you can do. When we haven’t been trained or understand how to help survivors, we can often make it worse by accident.