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"With blue irises her face is blossomed. Blue
Circling to yellow, circling to brown on her cheeks.
She hides in our kitchen.
He sleeps it off next door.."
~ Bruce Weigl ~

Experience of Survivors of IPSV with Counselling and Other Services

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Here, you can read about the positive and negative experiences survivors of partner rape/IPSV have had with counselling and other services from whom they sought help. It is my hope that this will be helpful - to the survivor who shares, to other survivors and to service providers wishing to know what is helpful or unhelpful to survivors of IPSV.

Note to survivors reading and/or sharing about bad experiences: If you have had negative experiences, you may have been very hurt, and are possibly afraid to seek help again. Nevertheless, although service response to partner rape or IPSV has been quite poor in a lot of corners, other survivors have had terrific experiences, and there are services striving to make a difference with this issue.. I think it's important for our healing to recognise that even if we or others have had bad experiences, these don't define all helpers and services, and we should look further afield and carefully check service attitudes to IPSV out. Hopefully, the positive experiences shared can be encouraging! Please don't forget to see Finding a Therapist.

If you wish to share your experience, please click here - first
reading and following ground rules.

Name: faeriedust
Type of Experience : Positive
Type of Service: Domestic Violence Service
Service was aware of survivor's experience of IPSV?: Yes
Survivor's experience with this service response to IPSV: My experience was, well, just about zero!! the Victim's Advocate for the Aurora P.D. called me AFTER my case had already been returned as exceptionally cleared by the Arapahoe county D.A. Also AFTER I had gone in to the Aurora Police Dept. and filed a formal complaint. What a joke. The sad thing is, she knew it was pathetic too!
Effect experience had on survivor: NEGATIVE, NEGATIVE, NEGATIVE!!! It made me feel as if I was basically a non-entity. Completely irrelevant. It was awful!
Survivor's thoughts on improving service responses to IPSV?: Just get in touch with them right away for Heaven's sake!!!!

Name: Anon
Type of Experience : Positive
Type of Service: Mental Health Service
Service was aware of survivor's experience of IPSV?: Yes
Survivor's experience with this service response to IPSV: My psychologist has been very helpful in advising me on personal safety and keeping it a priority, while respecting my confidentiality and understanding the specific complications of ISPA. She gives suggestions that help me take back my power, while working on the healing aspect as much as she can. She has been helpful in steering me towards resources.
Effect experience had on survivor: Helpful. I am not out of the water yet but on my way.
Survivor's thoughts on improving service responses to IPSV?: We need more like her.

Name: pam
Type of Experience : Negative
Type of Service: Faith-Based Service
Service was aware of survivor's experience of IPSV?: Yes
Survivor's experience with this service response to IPSV: I was basically told that because my husband was "my cover" that they could not help me or my son. I wsa told that the Bible stated that I should stay in order to try and win him to the Lord. No one told me that I could leave in cases of violence and sexual abuse including rape.
Effect experience had on survivor: I became angry at myself for being a coward and not leaving, I baecame angry at God for not helping us, I withdrew from family and friends. I numbed all of my encounters with my husband in order to survive them.
Survivor's thoughts on improving service responses to IPSV?: Have people available that know the will of God in situations like these and help women know they can leave as well as assist them to leave.

Name: bethany
Type of Experience : Negative
Type of Service: Sexual Assault Service
Service was aware of survivor's experience of IPSV?: No
Survivor's experience with this service response to IPSV: bad
Effect experience had on survivor: not good
Survivor's thoughts on improving service responses to IPSV?: everything possible

Name: Luisa
Type of Experience : Negative
Type of Service: Counselling Service
Other Service: Campus counseling service
Service was aware of survivor's experience of IPSV?: Yes
Survivor's experience with this service response to IPSV: While this counselor was a good soul, I always came away from sessions feeling worse. She seemed to push the notion of "accepting what happened and carrying on.." I understand the root of it, but I found her approach rather simplistic. Since my perpetrator had Asperger's syndrome, she seemed to consistently try to use that as an excuse-asking me what I knew about it, etc. and mentioning that that could distort his word choice, etc. or that his knife "joke" was a consequence of that. She also tended to push that to react in the long-term was to give him power, and seemed to berate me for having reactions or to be thinking about it 3 years later. The counseling was simplistic and focused on MY thought patterns, as opposed to working through the deeper issues.
Effect experience had on survivor: I consistently felt worse after sessions, like I was running in circles. The self-help book felt rather redundant, and I'd be rushing through the exercises before, "Uh... this is pointless..." I had no chance to explore the long-term impacts-future dating seemed like a pickle, and I didn't feel comfortable dealing with that.
Survivor's thoughts on improving service responses to IPSV?: Probably further training on long-term implications of sexual assault would be best.

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