About Sexual Assault
The crime of sexual assault is one of the most violating experiences anyone can endure. It can have immediate, short and long term effects on physical and emotional wellbeing.
We have heard and observed the experiences of many victim/survivors who have been sexually assaulted as children, or as adults, and the effects include:
Shock and Denial
A sense of 'has this really happened to me?', 'why me?'; an inability to accept that it has really occurred.
Of the perpetrator, of men in general, of being alone; of having to deal with the medical, legal or social consequences of the crime.
Inability to speak about the assault, to describe what it means or feels like; afraid of being judged.
Inability to relax or to feel safe; unsure of herself.
Low mood, low motivation; internal pain and grief.
Guilt and blame
A sense of 'why did I go there ... allow it ... not fight back?'.
Low self esteem
Feeling unworthy, not confident or deserving.
Wanting to be alone, closed off from family and friends; a need to hide within herself.
Nightmares and flashbacks
Images and memories of the assault intruding on daily life and sleep.
Going from anger and rage to tears and despair.
Loss of confidence
In work, in study, in social and intimate relationships.
Loss of trust
Within social, family or intimate relationships.
At CASA House, we respond to every victim/survivor with belief, respect, sensitivity and recognition of their struggle and ability to survive. We provide a safe place for them to talk about their feelings in their own way and own time. We inform them of their fundamental rights to medical, legal and support options. Within our counselling and group work services we present a feminist framework to acknowledge and re-frame some of the internalised myths a victim/survivor may carry as a result of the sexual assault.
We seek to empower each victim/survivor through recognition and articulation. We believe that the means of integrating the impact of the assault into their present and future life are within their control. We accept and validate decisions, and provide advocacy at every relevant point within a strict code of confidentiality.