How to break the wall of silence after you’ve been sexually assaulted

It was revealed last year that the number of reported rapes in England and Wales had doubled over the course of four years.

Police and prosecutors have also suggested that the rise in reports might be because people have been more willing to report sexual attacks following the aftermath of the Jimmy Savile scandal and other high-profile cases.

If you’ve been the victim of sexual assault and feel you need to hide your victimisation (or you’re perhaps fearful of being blamed) we’d like to help you break down that wall of silence and begin the process of healing.

Recognise you are not to blame – or alone

Following the high-profile allegations made against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, the hashtag ‘#MeToo’ has been trending.

Viewed as a rallying cry against sexual harassment, #MeToo also demonstrates how tragically common sexual assault is. Indeed, rape crisis centres respond to nearly 4,000 calls every week.

You’re not alone. In fact, you’re surrounded by people going through something similar – and people who can help you.

Most importantly, remind yourself constantly that you’re not to blame. Sexual assault is abhorrent and unacceptable; no one has the right to commit an act  as cruel as this, and there is absolutely nothing you’ve done to incite or deserve it.

Speak to someone you trust

At times like this, you need to surround yourself with people you love and trust. Talking to people about sexual assault is a great way to get help and break the wall of silence.

It will be incredibly tough to broach and highly emotional when you do so for the first time, therefore if you don’t feel ready to speak to a family member or friend, Voice can be the person you trust. Our highly-trained team will provide the practical support you need at this very difficult time.

At Voice, we help victims of sexual assault cope, recover and thrive. Our staff speak to citizens on the phone, via video call or in person and we partner with agencies across Northamptonshire to ensure we can provide the best possible support.

Voice can provide free:

Worried about reporting the incident?

You don’t have to press charges or even inform the police at all if you don’t want to.

Remember that you can access support from Voice without reporting. At this stage you need support and guidance in order to explore your trauma – nothing more.

However, it’s important to seek medical attention following a sexual assault or attack.

If you’ve been physically harmed, you don’t need to tell anyone who or what caused the injury, but the doctor will need to know exactly what happened in order to treat you correctly.

If you have been raped, a medical examination is very important, because it will detect injuries that may not be immediately apparent and help with protection against sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy.

Speak to Voice

Sexual crimes can be incredibly traumatic and affect people in many different ways. Our team can provide completely free, confidential support if you’re a victim or witness of such an event.

Speak to our experienced, friendly team on 0300 303 1965. Our lines are open from 8am to 8pm weekdays and from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays.

You’re not alone.

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