The #ItsNotOK campaign aims to raise awareness about sexual abuse and sexual violence and how to prevent it. We’re supporting the campaign, working to support survivors and encourage others to speak up. We don’t talk about sexual abuse enough – and it’s not OK.
Together we need to remind people that they are not to blame. If you have experienced sexual abuse, it is not your fault and you deserve support. Remember that you’re not alone.
What is sexual abuse?
Sexual abuse, or sexual violence, describes any type of unwanted sexual activity. There are many different types of abuse. Some we are more familiar with, such as rape, child sexual abuse, harassment and sexting, while others we may be less aware of, such as exploitation and female genital mutilation.
It is estimated that 12,000 men and 85,000 women are raped in England and Wales every year. Of those who experience sexual abuse, only 15% report it to the police.
The power of talking
Rape and other forms of sexual abuse are found to be very difficult to talk about by many people. It’s a dark subject that we often shy away from, but this needs to change. Hiding in the shadows and avoiding the subject can only contribute to the myths and misunderstandings. This can also leave survivors of abuse silenced, worrying about speaking up and feeling very alone.
The more we talk about what is happening, the better we can fight against it. Raising awareness and speaking up shows survivors that support is available and people are there to listen to what they have to say.
Here at Counselling Directory, we strongly advocate the power of talking – whether it’s a friend, a family member, a charity, a support group, or with a professional.
If you have experienced sexual violence, it’s quite normal for your mental health to be affected. Just like your physical health, your mental health needs to be looked after. Such a traumatising experience will often require some time and support to recover.
Many people will find counselling can be helpful. A professional counsellor can help with the psychological effects of sexual violence, including low confidence, depression, anxiety or PTSD.
There is no time limit to you seeking help. Even if you experienced abuse at a young age, some people live with the effects throughout their entire adult life. Whatever age you are, you deserve to be heard. A counsellor will give you the opportunity to talk, in a safe, non-judgemental environment.
Visit our dedicated fact-sheet for more information on sexual abuse and what support is available. Remember, you’re not alone and you deserve support.