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Part of: Deciding to report or not

Asking for help

Deciding to report or not is a big decision that can be difficult to make. While this is our own choice to make, it is okay to ask for support before, during, or after making this choice. This note will discuss the emotions you might be feeling about asking for help, as well as places we can go to receive that support.

It is natural to feel overwhelmed by all of the choices we have surrounding an assault. We might feel tired, unable to think, or bombarded by this added weight. It is okay if we are feeling strong emotions about what to do after the assault. Yet we need to remember that we don’t need to feel these things alone and we can ask others for help.

There are many reasons why we might need to ask for support during this time. It might be providing emotional support, encouragement with our decision to report or not, legal information about reporting or prosecuting, some space to process, or even just some daily tasks that have become difficult, like tidying or doing the laundry. The things we might ask for help with can vary as each of us might need support in different ways.

Asking for help can be an important part of our healing. The support we are given by others can lift a bit of weight off of our shoulders so that we can use that space to process and begin to heal. Choosing to ask for help or not to ask for help has no bearing on our strength in handling our assault. We are all strong by surviving and taking the steps that we personally need to take to heal.

Depending on our needs and comfortability, there are many places we can turn to for help or support during any step of our healing journey:

  • Our friends and family. Having a loved one by our side while we go through the healing process can be immensely beneficial. We should look towards someone we trust or feel comfortable around. We might ask for help by seeking accompaniment to an assault center, the police, or court proceedings. Or maybe we seek help by asking someone for emotional support, assistance with daily tasks, or just to check in on us.

  • Our place of work. It can be difficult dealing with an assault and having to maintain the same daily tasks or continue going to work. Depending on our comfort sharing information about our assault, we might choose to ask for help from our workplace in order to get some extra support. Even when looking for support at work we don’t have to tell anyone we are not comfortable with. We might first consider looking to our superior or HR department to discuss what we might need. This might be asking for some extra time off, some days working from home, alternative tasks, or just for some support for the difficult time we are going through. We should be aware that if the assault happened at work, telling a colleague at work might trigger a mandatory reporting response.

  • Our religious institution or center. Some of us might find comfort in reaching out through our religious network for help. Many religious institutions or centers will have contacts who are there to counsel and discuss our difficulties, or we might have someone through this network whom we trust to seek support from. Our religious institution or center may also be able to put us in contact with other resources to help survivors of assault.

  • Local assault resource centers or charities. Many communities will have centers dedicated to helping those who have been survivors of assault. Calling or visiting these centers can assist us to understand what the laws in our area are regarding reporting and prosecuting assault. These centers will also have trained counselors who will be able to support us through our decisions and healing process.

  • Online assault resources like CHAYN. Due to platforms like CHAYN being entirely online, easily accessible around the globe, and anonymous, it is an excellent platform to turn to for support. Resources about emotional health, practical information about the reporting process, and support chats can be found in a variety of online resource centers.

When asking for help, the main thing to keep in mind is our own comfort and healing process. Even if we identify that we need help and would like to ask for it, remember that asking for help from someone in our daily life does not always meant that we need to disclose our assault. We might choose to just say we are not feeling well or going through a difficult time and would like a little extra support at work or at home.

Asking for help can be an important step in our healing process. No matter how we decide to go about receiving support, having that helping hand is beneficial to us in multiple ways. We should always remember that our feelings and needs for support are valid and it is okay to reach out when we need to.