This is the end of the first week of my training at the Rape Crisis Center in Orem. Once I'm finished, I'll be a member of a team of volunteers who provide help for those who've experienced any kind of sexual assault. The more that I learn about the need for services like these in our community, the more I feel like I need to tell people about the options they have. One of the things our team coordinator Jani said to us was that we are not in the community to tell people to get help. We're here to let people know that they deserve the resources to help them get through whatever it is that they've experienced. I really like that attitude. Because everyone truly does deserve the ability to heal.
If you're a survivor of sexual assault or rape, or you have a friend, acquaintance, or family member who is a survivor of rape or sexual assault and you find yourself struggling to cope with the emotions of that experience (you're a survivor too, you know), the Center For Women and Children in Crisis has an outstanding number of programs to help you understand the experiences you're going through and to help you come to terms with whatever it is you're experiencing.
The contact information, as well as more information about rape and sexual assault, is on the website. Good information to know, also, is that every Wednesday night from 6 PM - 7:30 PM there are two classes, one on domestic violence education and another on sexual assault and rape education, which provide not only information but room for safe discussion about these issues. There is also a closed therapy group for rape survivors only which, according to members and staff at the Center, provides the most effective and powerful healing opportunities they can offer. All of these resources are completely free and completely confidential.
And just to mention, any exposure to any form of sexual assault, sexual violence, rape, or domestic violence can have life-long effects on your mental, physical, and emotional health. One of the most surprising things I found were the symptoms of these crimes. Stuff like crippling panic attacks, resurfacing feelings which render you emotionally or physically incapacitated for periods of time, depression, chronic headaches, dizziness, or chronic fatigue.
The website above has amazing resources. My hope is that if you've been looking for a way to approach help, you've got some way to access it even if you need to wait awhile before using it.
Anyways. Yeah. It's been an incredibly enlightening and powerful experience thus far. If anyone is interested in volunteering, as well, I encourage you to contact the Center and see what you can do to help.