The work of the project is so important to me personally because I have had a close friend who has experienced sexual violence. Further knowledge about the needs of female survivors of sexual violence and the provision available would certainly have helped to better support my friend. It is easy to think of sexual violence as a crime committed by a stranger in an unfamiliar place when it is more often someone known to the person in what can be a familiar or ‘safe’ setting. This type of experience understandably leads to a whole range of thoughts and emotions that are incredibly difficult to deal with.
I’m also aware that women can struggle to speak out when they have been through experiences such as sexual violence and exploitation. This is why, for me, this work is so important. By de-stigmatising sexual violence and exploitation, letting women know it is OK to talk about it and by listening and understanding, we can better support women with processing their experiences so that it does not hold them back in anything they may wish to do in their lives.