Do You Need support?
If you or someone you love has been affected by sexual violence and you’re in need of counseling, legal action, or emergency shelter, contact the numbers below:
Gender-Based Violence hotline:
Childline Kenya responds to child crises including sexual violence:
Wangu Kanja Foundation SMS: 21094
OHCHR: 2726300 9
The Gender Violence Recovery Center provides free medical response for survivors of sexual violence within a 72 hour window: 0709 667 000
How can I find courage to tell my story?
Too often, survivors don’t have the courage to believe in their own story. They fear that their story is irrelevant, that it will be judged, or that somebody else could tell it better. Though some survivors have been a victim of this for a long time, we must realize that every time we share, we are adding another stair that we climb toward healing.
Be courageous and own your story—your story is powerful!
- Make the decision to tell it.
- Think of your purpose for telling your story.
- Attend events where other people tell their stories.
- Tell it to yourself over and over again until you are confident.
- When you speak, let it come from your heart.
- Believe in your story.
- Understand that no one can tell your story better than you.
What can I do to find healing?
Sometimes, it’s difficult to admit that you have been raped or sexually assaulted. Culture has stigmatized survivors to make them feel dirty, ashamed, weak, and guilty. Survivors may also be afraid of how people will react when they hear that you have been sexually assaulted—afraid of being judged, ostracized, or excluded. It may seem easier to keep it a secret—but when you stay silent, you deny help and reinforce victimization.
So speak out and raise your voice against sexual violence!
- Admit the fact that it has happened.
- Understand that it is not your fault.
- Seek medical attention and justice.
- See a counselor.
- Reach out to someone you trust.
- Join a support group for sexual violence survivors.
- Pay attention to the changes in your body caused by triggers.
- Learn to forgive—though difficult, it will give your heart and mind peace.
- Speak out about it.
How can I help my friend who has been sexually abused?
1 in 3 women are survivors of sexual or domestic violence worldwide. This means that a third of our relationships are survivors and we may not even know it. Because of this, it is important to know how to be a listening presence, a source of encouragement, and an advocate for the people we love.
Saying these simple words, “I believe you,” will let a survivor know that their story is valid—no matter what happened to them, they are not defined by it. At Freely in Hope, we work to break barriers of oppressive stereotypes that blame victims. Instead, we provide resources that fight for justice, educate communities, and let survivors know that they are heard.
If you know a survivor, use these 9 helpful tips to support them!
- Listen without judgment.
- Be present.
- Encourage the survivor to get support.
- Be patient.
- Encourage them to practice self-care.
- Learn the warning signs of suicide and offer support.
- Know of resources within your community.
- “I acknowledge your pain. I’m here with you.”
- “I believe you.”
- It was not your fault.
How can I be an advocate against sexual violence?
Many survivors are harmed emotionally and psychologically because of the different myths, stigmas, and stereotypes that surround survivors. Rape culture is real—the words you say may be unintentional, but careless comments, lack of support, and judgmental attitudes cause great harm. How you respond as an advocate can be critical in shaping the healing process for a survivor.
Be vocal about the fact that you stand with survivors!
- Support a survivor through the healing process.
- Maintain the survivor’s confidentiality.
- Be patient and non-judgmental.
- Suggest options but allow the survivor to decide what action to take.
- Do not stay silent when you see someone being violated sexually, physically or emotionally.
- Speak out against sexist, degrading, or inappropriate comments.
- Report to the authorities if you witness a situation of assault.