Exercise: Identifying Supportive Others
Depending on where you are in your healing, you may be staying silent about your experiences with sexual violence. However, you may also experience the urge, need, and want to tell people close to you about being a survivor. You may be seeking connection with other survivors or just support from friends and/or family.
If this is where you are, this exercise includes some suggestions on how to identify supportive people in your life who may be helpful in your healing. While completing this exercise, try not to feel discouraged if you cannot think of anyone who you can ask for support. Being a survivor can sometimes be a lonely, isolating space. However, there is strength to be found in speaking about your experiences and building a support system from the ground up. Find power in possibility.
Consider the following questions:
- With whom do I not feel safe sharing about my assault and my healing process? Write their names down in your journal or think about them in your mind. For each person, write or think about reasons why you don’t feel safe with them. Even if you don’t have a clear reason, but instinctively sense that it isn’t wise to talk to them, recognize those feelings as valid, and put them on your “no” list. Remember, you are in charge. This is YOUR healing and YOUR support system. You get to make the rules about whom you are comfortable seeking out and how much to reveal.
- With whom do you feel safe sharing? List as many people as you can. You do not have to contact them all right away, but knowing that you have them just in case, can be helpful and empowering. For each person on you put on the “yes” list, answer the following questions:
- What is it about this person that makes you comfortable with talking to them about what you’ve experienced?
- How does this person know about sexual violence? Have they supported a survivor before or are they doing so currently? It can be helpful to have someone who is knowledgeable about victim blaming, rape culture, stereotypes of hypersexuality in PoC communities, etc. However, these things are not required to be a good supportive person.
- Is this person comfortable talking about emotions or do they deny and fear them?
- Does this person really listen? Do they wait for you to finish saying what you need to say before offering advice or feedback?
- Does this person seem to accept and care for you, or do you feel they judge you?
- Is this person trustworthy?
- How available is this person to support you? Are they burdened with major health, financial or family difficulties? Even if this person loves you or has been supportive in the past, it what degree can you count on this person to be there for you right now?
- After answering all of the above questions, do you still feel this person could support you as you heal? If so, are there some aspects of the sexual assault or your present healing efforts that you would rather not share with this person? What areas are those?
Review and reassess your list. Cross off the names of any people who really don’t feel safe.
This exercise adapted from here.
Followers, do you have any suggestions with building a support system? How has your support system been beneficial to you? Have you had difficulties with building a support system or has your support system been detrimental to your healing? Or try these tips and lets us know how they worked! Submit your story or ask questions!
The Butterfly Project (follow up)
This isn’t going to make your blog ugly. So reblog an save a life. My name is Hailey and I have self harmed for 11 months now. Please reblog this and show others dealing with self harm that there is a way to stop. THE BUTTERFLY PROJECT. The Rules are:1. When you feel like you want to cut, take a marker, pen, or sharpies and draw a butterfly on your arm or hand.2. Name the butterfly after a loved one, or someone that really wants you to get better.3. You must let the butterfly fade naturally. NO scrubbing it off.4. If you cut before the butterfly is gone, you’ve killed it. If you dont cut, it lives.5. If you have more than one butterfly, cutting kills all of them.6. Another person may draw them on you. These butterflies are extra special. Take good care of them.7. Even if you don’t cut, feel free to draw a butterfly anyways, to show your support. If you do this, name it after someone you know that cuts or is suffering right now, and tell them. It could help.This butterfly is named Bethanie. She’s beautiful. I love her.
Help/support for LGBT’s (mostly for trans) in the UK
- EACH is a free actionline for young people experiencing homophobic or transphobic bullying.
Telephone: 0808 1000 143
- Childline is a free confidential helpline for young people. They offer advice and support 24 hours a day.
Telephone: 0800 1111
- TransLondon is a discussion group online and welcomes all regardless of their current status, identity or identities.
- Albert-Kennedy trust support young LGBT people who are homeless.
Telephone: -London 0207 831 6562, -Manchester 0161 228 3308
- Gendered intelligence is a community interest company aiming to support young transgender people.
- Mermaids is a support group for young transgender people and their families.
Telephone: 0208 123 4819
- The Beaumont Society is a self help body run by and for those who cross-dress or are trans.
Please reblog and add to this list; it might really help someone out there who really needs it :)