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21 George Street, Suite 400 | Lowell, MA 01852 | T: 978.452.7721 | 24-hour Hotline: 800.542.5212 | F: 978.458.2822
Survivors are people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds who have experienced sexual violence.
The term survivor is used to emphasize the strength and determination to survive acts of sexual violence and abuse. The word signifies the strength and courage to endure the often difficult healing process.
Survivors of sexual violence experience a wide range of emotions. Remember that everyone reacts differently and whatever an individual is feeling is completely normal.
Common reactions include:
Anger, Anxiety, Confusion, Depression, Difficulties with Intimacy, Disbelief, Embarrassment, Emotional Shock, Fear, Feeling Powerless, Flashbacks, Guilt, Nightmares, Rage, Shame, and Vulnerability. (For a downloadable version click here)
If you have recently experienced a sexual assault, or are recovering from a past sexual assault or abuse, you are living through a stressful and traumatic time in your life. Remember that you’re on a journey and your commitment to yourself and your own self care will be crucial as you face the challenges that come with building healing and safety.
Many survivors describe feelings of low self esteem, lack of trust, and isolation as a result of the abuse. These feelings can get in the way of taking care of yourself and building a support network.
• Talk to someone that you trust.
• Read about sexual assault and understand the dynamics and patterns of abuse and assault.
• Develop a safety plan, for your physical safety and your emotional safety.
• Call the hotline whenever you have a question or feel like talking to another person.
• Believe in yourself.
• Recognize your strengths and believe in your ability to survive and heal.
• Refrain from blaming yourself; what happened is not your fault.
• Rebuild a support system and surround yourself with positive and supportive people.
What will happen if you call The Center for Hope and Healing?
You have many options in terms of your next steps when you call us. Depending on your needs, we can make an appointment with a counselor for you, accompany you to the hospital or police station, and even support you by attending court hearings. We believe that providing a wide range of services is the best way to meet the needs of survivors and allows you to make the most informed decisions about your care. We can help you to work out what your best next steps will be.