If you were ritually abused you may be afraid that no one will believe you; that no one will be able to help and support you. You may believe that the group will always find you; that there is no safety anywhere. Other survivors like you have felt the same way but many have managed to find support for themselves. The following are some ideas of places you can try for support.
Rape Crisis Centres – Are run by women for women only. They offer a free and confidential support service. Some are experienced in working with ritual abuse survivors and all are open to learning more. Most will be able to advise male survivors of other agencies for them.
Women’s Aid – Run by women for women. They are a free and confidential service. They offer safe accommodation and support to any woman experiencing violence in the home.
Help-lines – There are many telephone help-lines for survivors of sexual abuse. Some of these are specifically for women only, some for men and some are for both.
Survivors groups – Most rape crisis centres will have a list of groups that meet in their area.
Samaritans – Offer free, confidential, support. They may not have a high awareness of ritual abuse but are usually good listeners and can help you find out what other services exist.
Psychologists – Through a GP you can be referred to a psychologist. Though he or she may not have a very high awareness, some are very open to learning and can be very helpful.
Therapists – You can usually access one free through a GP or you can go private. Some have very good awareness of the issues of ritual abuse; some don’t but are open to learning.
Friends – Don’t underestimate friends. They can be very helpful and supportive of you. Though they may never have heard of ritual abuse before, they may be willing to learn about it and help you find resources and other support.
Internet – There is a great deal of support and information available now on the Internet. This is a fairly safe way of accessing support and information without anyone knowing who you are or where you come from. Internet access is now available in libraries and cafés in most towns.
If you are still being abused and you want the abuse to stop, that is the most important first step. To want something to stop means you do not accept it and are looking for change. Change however will not happen by itself and is something you will have to think about, plan and fight for. Freedom from abuse is worth fighting for though it may be difficult. Getting out of any abuse situation is a process, not a single event.
TipsRemember, other survivors have managed to get out, stay out and get the abuse to stop. If these survivors can do it, that means it is possible. If it is possible for some, then it is possible for you too.
Don’t give up even if you fail at first. You can lose many battles and still win the war in the end, so keep going.
Try to get the support of someone you can trust. Two heads are better than one. Other people may think of things you haven’t.
Try to make plans rather than reacting to crisis. i.e. if you intend to run, try to prepare in advance with money stashed, clothes, phone numbers and an idea of where to go. Running blind makes you easier to find.
Know your enemy. Study them and learn all you can about them. The more you know, the easier it is to beat them.
Remember, if you are running, hiding or evading, the more public you are able to be, the less likely they will be to get you. The abusers are the ones who must hide what they are doing and will avoid doing anything to you in front of witnesses. Stay as visible as you can.
Silence can be your enemy. They use this to control you. The real truth is that adult survivors come to have more power than abusers. By telling someone, you expose them to the judgement of the world and they fear exposure. Otherwise why do they hide? If you speak out and are accounted for, you will have some degree of safety.
Safety is a state of mind as much as it is a place. Use whatever means you have available to increase your peace of mind and sense of safety. Find a safe place inside yourself as well as on the outside.
If they are getting you back into abusive situations by using triggers, try to find out what the trigger is and find a way of blocking it. If need be, get someone you trust to help you stay safe and accounted for during difficult times.
If they are frightening you or making threats, remember that these are designed to control you. Check out the reality, i.e. have they actually harmed you or are they using your own fears against you. Threats can be frightening but they alone cannot hurt you.
If they are threatening to hurt a child or loved one if you do not return, know that they will do this anyway if they choose to. You going back will safeguard no one and will only give them more of a hold over you.
Know that you can do it. Believe in yourself and in your ability to survive. You’ve made it this far against all the odds so you do have skills and coping mechanisms to continue to survive and heal.