Sexual assault and rape

Sexual assault can happen to anyone of any age, man, woman or child. The assault may have been committed by someone you know well, who may still be in your life, or someone you barely knew at all. Either way, it is incredibly difficult to deal with such a traumatic experience and it can take days, months or even years to come to terms with what’s happened. You may experience emotional and psychological effects a long time after, living with memories having never told anyone else. It is important you feel there is support for you, and that you feel you can tell your story in your own time.

A sexual assault is any sexual act that you didn’t consent to or was forced into against your will, including rape (of the vagina, anus or mouth), torture of a sexual nature, groping or forced kissing. There are national and local support organisations that offer support immediately after an assault.

If you have experienced sexual violence, you are likely dealing with a range of emotions. You may:

  • Feel ashamed that this happened to you, and have low self-esteem and confidence
  • Blame yourself in some way, or feel guilty you weren’t able to stop the assault happening
  • Feel confused – when we experience trauma we often have blanks in memory, or our sense of time order becomes confused
  • Blame and feel angry towards the perpetrator, people you felt could or should have protected you, and/or society at large
  • Have issues with intimacy and forming romantic relationships
  • Experience flashbacks, or develop anxiety, depression or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), or start to self-harm.

Our therapists will offer you a safe, non-judgemental space to work through painful thoughts and feelings. They can help you work towards a goal of reporting sexual assault if you’re yet to do so, although they will respect any decision not to report. There is no set timeline for recovering from sexual assault, but with the right support, you can learn to manage your feelings and live a fulfilling and happy life.