Women’s experiences of our services

“For over 20 years I thought that what happened to me could be pushed to the back of my mind and forgotten about. That approach worked with varying levels of success for a long time. For various reasons it was becoming harder, memories wouldn’t stay subdued as easily.

Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre’s website gave me the feeling that there could be hope of feeling better, no matter how long ago the abuse happened, I was still important enough to deserve help.

I read the self help guide and printed it out so I could re-read sections easily. It was such a relief to read something that made so much sense, the feelings I was having and had previously felt were normal and I wasn’t alone.

One evening I decided to email the support service. I considered the phone line but really didn’t think that I would be able to physically say out loud the things I wanted and needed to say.

Sending that email was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am so grateful for the reply I received, it was amazing and really, I guess, life changing.

For the first time I felt listened to, I felt like every word I had written had been considered and replied to in a carefully thought out way. I felt understood and most importantly I didn’t feel alone anymore.

Taking that step and emailing CRCC has changed a lot for me. I’m not sure if I can ever really thank them enough.

I used to feel really alone with my memories and although they will always be there, I don’t have to be so alone with it anymore. They made me realise it is okay to need help and to ask for it and to receive it.”

“Beth” – received support from our email support service.

“When I finally got up the courage to tell the police what had happened to me as a child, the whirlwind of reporting happened. I told my story. What I had kept hidden away for years has been ripped out of me multiple times in what felt like the worst possible way.

I was lost, I didn’t really know what was going on. I felt incredibly low and when my doctor didn’t support me I was left feeling far worse. Nobody cared, I was alone and I hurt so much, how was I going to keep going?

Along came my ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advocate), a phone call that made me know I wasn’t alone. Support I didn’t even know existed was out there and all of a sudden I could keep going because I had a place to ask all the questions I had.

My court case took almost four years from reporting to sentencing. During that time my ISVA was amazing, she put my mind at rest with answers to all my questions. She helped me prepare for court and dealt with the last minute changes and problems.

My ISVA had taken me from ‘I can’t do this’ to ‘Someone cares and I can totally do this’.

On the day, my ISVA was completely invaluable. She stayed with me throughout the whole day and gave me amazing advice on self-care for after court. When the case ended she called me about next steps and other things that could potentially happen. She also arranging counselling sessions at Cambridge Rape Crisis (CRCC) for me.

About a month later, after sentencing had happened, we had a call where she officially signed me off. This was a very emotional call for me. It felt sad to say goodbye to someone who had supported me so much but amazing because it was like she was the official person who said “It’s okay, you did it, it’s all over and you can start your new life now”.

The support from CRCC’s advocacy service from start to finish was something that I really don’t have enough words to explain.

My ISVA was a guardian angel who was completely invaluable and made the whole process easier. I can honestly say that I would not have made it through my court case without her. The CRCC advocacy service is a vital service for survivors and I’m so thankful it’s one that was around when I needed it.”

“Amber” – received support from our advocacy service.

“When I first started therapy with Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC) I was feeling perpetually exhausted, depressed and highly anxious. Every day was a battle to even get out of bed, never mind get myself out of my front door to work or anywhere else.

I lived in a constant state of dazed fear. What happened to me was affecting the way I felt every day, even though I tried to pretend to myself that it wasn’t, because I didn’t want it to have that power. However, I knew I couldn’t carry on holding it all by myself, so I finally reached out for support.

I felt terrified before my first counselling session. However, as soon as I walked in I felt welcomed and less alone.

I am so glad that I took that huge courageous step through that front door. My life has changed dramatically since.

Sharing in a place where someone listened, cared and believed what I had to say was life-changing and empowering.

Counselling with CRCC gave me the strength to keep going, however hard it continued to be at times. It gave me a sense of hope and the encouragement I needed to move forward in my life. I have since re-trained in a job I love and have created a wonderful balance in my life. Now I know how to manage when things start to feel difficult and I know that I can always reach out to others for support now.

I can’t thank CRCC enough, it was the biggest stepping stone I have ever taken towards well-being and I hope many other are able to benefit and prosper from this wonderful service.”

“Sarah” – received support from our counselling service.