You can make a difference. Getting informed about gender-based violence helps to combat harmful myths and stereotypes which can shame and stigmatise survivors. Learning about the impacts of trauma can help survivors feel less alone.
We’ve compiled a list of resources to help keep you informed.
Here's a list of suggested reads and listens about feminism, trauma and gender-based violence:
- Women, Race & Class - Angela Y. Davis
- The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Survivors - Ellen Bass & Laura Davis
- Eyes Open to Sexual Abuse; What Every Parent Needs to Know - Nina Burrowes
- The Little Book of Authenticity - Nina Burrowes
- The Courage to Be Me - Nina Burrowes
- Intersectionality 2nd ed. - Collins & Bilge
- The Courage to Heal: Workbook - Laura Davis
- The Simple Guide to Child Trauma - Betsy de Thierry
- Can we talk about Consent - Justin Hancock
- Surviving Child Sexual Abuse - Liz Hall & Siobhan Lloyd
- Trauma and Recovery - Herman
- Hood Feminism - Mikki Kendall
- The Compassionate Mind Approach to Recovering from Trauma - Deborah Lee & Sophie James
- Waking the Tiger – Peter Levine
- The Myth of Normal – Gabor Mate
- 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery - Rothschild
- Being White in the Helping Professions - Judy Ryde
- Me and White Supremacy - Layla F. Saad
- Counselling Skills for Working with Shame - Christiane Sanderson
- Counselling Skills for Working with Trauma - Christiane Sanderson
- The Body Keeps the Score - Bessel Van Der Kolk
We are an intersectional feminist organisation, meaning we understand how different oppressions converge and we know this impacts each survivor differently.
We support people of any gender, race, sexual orientation, disability and religious and cultural background.
An end to sexual violence cannot happen without an end to racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination and inequality.
We understand that systemic issues of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination and inequality create additional barriers for those who have experienced sexual violence. They can make accessing services more difficult, getting the right support more difficult and can make recovery more of a challenge. Stigma and lack of understanding about diverse needs, shame, and lack of trust in authorities can impact recovery.
Resources from other organisations
- Scottish Women's Rights Centre
- Rape Crisis Scotland
- Scottish Women's Aid
- Back off Scotland
- Scottish Refugee Council
- Amina: The Muslim Women's Resource Centre
- Shakti Women's Aid
- Trussell Trust
- Scottish Trans
- LGBT Youth Scotland
- Scottish Human Rights Commission
- Disability Equality Scotland
- Inclusion Scotland
- Jewish Women's Aid
Gender-Based Violence & Sexual violence
Gender-based violence is "any form of violence used to establish, enforce or perpetuate gender inequalities and keep in place gendered orders. In other words, gender-based violence is a policing mechanism”. (James Lang, 2002) Gender-based violence can include any behaviours such as physical abuse, psychological abuse, economic abuse, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination, humiliation etc.
Sexual violence means any form of unwanted sexual contact. You may hear different words for the varying forms of sexual violence such as rape, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse or sexual harassment. Other forms of sexual violence include stalking, sexual exploitation, forced marriage, image-based abuse and organised and ritual abuse.
Equally safe: Scotland's Strategy for Preventing and Eradicating Violence Against Women and Girls
Equally Safe is Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls.
They give examples of different types of violence against women and girls and define gender-based violence as the following:
"Violence against women and girls encompasses (but is not limited to):
- Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family (including children and young people), within the general community or in institutions, including domestic abuse, rape, and incest;
- Sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation in any public or private space, including work;
- Commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution, lap dancing, stripping, pornography and trafficking;
- Child sexual abuse, including familial sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation and online abuse;
- So called ‘honour based’ violence, including dowry related violence, female genital mutilation, forced and child marriages, and ‘honour’ crimes."
"Gender based violence is a function of gender inequality, and an abuse of male power and privilege. It takes the form of actions that result in physical, sexual and psychological harm or suffering to women and children, or affront to their human dignity, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life. It is men who predominantly carry out such violence, and women who are predominantly the victims of such violence. By referring to violence as “gender based” this definition highlights the need to understand violence within the context of women’s and girl’s subordinate status in society. Such violence cannot be understood, therefore, in isolation from the norms, social structure and gender roles within the community, which greatly influence women’s vulnerability to violence.
The definition includes women and girls across all protected characteristics defined by equality legislation - age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief and sexual orientation."
For more campaigning and activist groups about gender-based violence check out:
“Trauma is the emotional shock we feel following a shocking or traumatic event. [....] The intensity of our feelings can often overwhelm us and can seriously disrupt our lives, as these feelings can continue long after the trauma has actually happened.” (Lee and James)
Most people think they know how they would react if they were faced with a traumatic event. There is an assumption in society that someone would fight back. But that’s not always true.
You can’t choose how your body reacts to danger. The way people react is not controlled by the logical brain. It’s your brain’s natural instinctive response. When your body reacts to a dangerous situation your brain diverts blood and oxygen to the muscles and the body floods with adrenaline. This happens really quickly and your body goes into survival mode to protect itself. There are actually five recognised reactions your brain is hardwired to do in response to a dangerous, traumatic event.
Someone may experience more than one of these responses being triggered at the same time and it can make understanding what happened and how you are feeling much more difficult and complicated. It can be confusing to experience different responses at the same time, e.g. wanting to run away (flight) while also being stuck, frozen on the spot (freeze), and experiencing this can disorganise someone’s mind. It can be comforting to know that your brain acted in a completely natural way to overwhelming, abnormal events. We have more information about trauma on our webpage.
Rape Crisis Scotland shared a brilliant campaign called #IJustFroze combatting myths about trauma. You can learn more about #IJustFroze here.
You may feel helpless if someone discloses their experience of sexual violence to you. We've provided some tips here to ensure you can be a good supporter to them.
- The most important thing is to listen to and believe the person who discloses to you
- Be patient and accept them without judgement
- Reassure them that you won't tell anyone else (unless they or someone else are at risk of harm)
- Don't try to push them into making decisions about reporting to the police
- Avoid asking intrusive questions, let them lead any conversations about the abuse
- Educating yourself about sexual violence & its effects is helpful, plus learning about how it effects the survivor helps you support them in the right way
- For practical support the Rape Crisis Scotland website has lots of helpful information about accessing help, support and advice. There's also lots of information about sexual violence & the law, gender-based violence and trauma responses (http://www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/help)
It's important you look after yourself too!
Finding an outlet for the feelings that arise is important. For example, this could be yoga or journalling or going for a walk. Whatever works for you.
If you need support we are able to support family, friends and others affected by sexual violence.
Our normal office hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
- Call: 01343 550407
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org