Individuals from outside your immediate circle of loved ones can also provide support and acceptance that may aid in your recovery. You are the person to determine the type of help that is most useful for you. Please consider that throughout the state of Michigan there are sexual assault programs that offer advocacy and counseling. Don't hesitate to seek help from these free programs.
An advocate is a professional who is trained to assist sexual assault survivors in medical and legal matters. The advocate has an understanding of "the system" and how it works. He or she has likely served numerous other survivors. Many programs offer legal advocacy, which will include accompanying a survivor to court, the police station or meetings with the prosecutor. An advocate is a source of practical, useful information and emotional support.
A sexual assault counselor is a professional who is trained to address your emotional needs. Many who have experienced sexual assault find that a counselor offers compassion and help. Some find that they can more easily discuss their assault with a professional who has worked with other survivors. You will benefit most from counseling when you decide that you want it.
Support groups are helpful recovery tools for many survivors. You may develop a supportive network with others who have had experiences similar to your own. Many survivors find support groups a valuable part of their healing process. A support group may be an alternative to counseling if you do not want one-on-one interaction.
MDVPTB is grateful to the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MCADSV) for allowing us to excerpt this information from their publication, "A Handbook For Survivors Of Sexual Assault."