The Effects of Sexual Violence
Sexual violence is a disturbing invasion of the body, mind and spirit. It deeply affects a person’s health and well-being. There are a number of common reactions to describe this hurtful type of violence on a person. Each person reacts in their own way to sexual violence and these reactions are known as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). How a survivor feels, and their reaction to what happened to them, is different for each person. There is no right or wrong way to cope or feel after sexual violence.
How Can We Help?
Counselling is a conversation with a trained Social Worker, where you work together to deal with the effects of the trauma. You know best how the trauma has affected you, and the Social Worker knows what can help. Choosing to talk to a counsellor works when you feel that you need help. Counselling can help you:
- Understand how the trauma has impacted you
- Understand your reactions and emotions
- Recognize your strengths, self-worth and value
- Learn tools that will reduce the impact of trauma
- Sorting out what is a result of trauma and what is related to the challenges of daily living
ALTHOUGH TRAUMA CAN IMPACT YOU IT DOESN’T HAVE TO HAVE LIFE LONG EFFECTS
What is important to know?
The counsellors at SACC are all registered Social Workers who are trained especially to help survivors of sexual violence. Their experience and knowledge give them the tools to help.
- The Social Worker will work with you to help identify the impact on you
- The Social Worker may use tools and written exercises to help to identify the impact on you
- The Social Worker will become ‘your coach’ and give you tools to manage the impact of sexual violence on you and will ask you to routinely practice them
- You will be asked to use these tools in a way that is right for you
- You will be encouraged to practice self-care—exercise, eating right and getting sleep
- You will be asked to be open, honest and willing to value direct and honest feedback from you Social Worker—if we do not know what is going on how can we help?
- You will be asked to share your reactions to what happened (not your story)—trust that your Social Worker knows that some things you might feel ashamed about are really common reactions to victimization and trauma
- Your Social Worker will ask that you take risks, try new things and be committed to personal growth
- Understand that the hard work is done outside of counselling sessions—just talking about change does not make it happen—it requires hard work and commitment on your part.
As a client you will be asked to:
Attend your appointments. Your Social Worker will set aside appointment times to help you. These times are specific for you and your Social Worker expects that you understand the importance of attending these appointments.
We know emergencies happen, so if you cannot make an appointment please call us 24 hours or more in advance to cancel your appointment.
If you miss an appointment and don’t notify your Social Worker, your worker will assume you are no longer interested in counselling and not provide further appointments.
If you regularly cancel appointments, your Social Worker will need to determine if this is a good time in your life to commit to counselling. For counselling to have an effect you must attend regularly and commit to the work in between appointments as well as commit to your self-care.
What to expect from your Social Worker:
A genuine willingness to want to help
An agreed upon plan on how you and the Social Worker will work together
A commitment to keep your confidence provided you are safe and/or you are not going to hurt someone.