I would be remiss not to include the websites and hotlines that have been helpful to me and to thousands of other women. I stumbled upon them one by one as I desperately searched for help. Here I will provide my favorite and then add to them from time to time as I find others.
The first site is the one hopefully given to every person who enters a hospital or police station that has been sexually assaulted. It is RAINN – Rape, Abuse & Incest, National Network. Their hotline number, 1-800-656-HOPE, is the one I call most often because the number is so easy to remember, and then they redirect you to a sexual assault hotline in your state. One of the coolest things they have recently started is an online hotline which I believe is an incredible idea given how many people are afraid to contact anyone. It is an amazing idea for teens who would be more willing to chat with someone online than to speak to them on the phone.
Another website that was critical in helping me turn toward surviving is Voices of Courage. They offer a downloadable version of their book and their audio book which is 26 tracks, for FREE! The book has the stories of 12 survivors, all written in their own hand. Each chapter in the audiobook is then narrated by the contributors themselves and is followed by an interview between that contributor and the man who started the project, Mike Dormitrz. It is filled with the things you need to hear when you feel like you are alone, like you are going crazy, like you are (mistakenly) to blame. What do you have to lose…it is free.
The last site recommendation for today is Pandora’s Project. It has a newsletter online that you can read and also sign up to receive by email, resources, and a library, among other helpful information. This is also where I found the only active online forum for sexual assault survivors.
The Hotlines: Though I have not called the child abuse hotline or the domestic violence hotline, I felt they were important to include here.
National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
I hope these are as helpful for you as they have been for me. And PLEASE, do not be afraid to call a hotline if you are crashing, feeling overwhelmed, or just need grounding. I have found them to be compassionate and supportive.