Meet Nicola – RSVP’s newest LGBT Independent Sexual Violence Advocate
Hi, I’m Nicola and I’m the newest edition to the LGBT ISVA team at RSVP. I joined at the beginning of September and feel very privileged to be a part of this family. I started at RSVP as a volunteer counsellor originally and I will always say my role as a LGBT Independent Sexual Violence Advocate was fate.
As I was travelling in for my counselling role, I thought about trying to organise an LGBT coffee morning group and when I arrived, I saw the ISVA role advertised and applied immediately.
Being a part of the LGBT community myself, it was really important to me to be able to offer support in this specialist area. If you identify as being a part of the LGBT+ community and have ever experienced rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse at ANY point in your life, I am here to help. Sexual violence can affect anyone regardless of their gender identity or what type of relationship they’re in.
Quoted from the Love is a Rainbow website “Unfortunately; our silence on these matters has meant that criminals and deviants are allowed to continue with their nefarious misdeeds. Nobody is going to challenge the social injustice that we face, unless we ourselves start taking control of the steering wheel. The suffering that we face as a result of sexual violence is individualized and therefore does not inspire the requisite strategic response that has traditionally been used to combat societal problems such as armed robbery.
The statistics are certainly alarming enough: between 40% and 60% of all women within the LGBT+ community are bound to face at least once incident of physical violence, rape and stalking by an intimate partner. Up to 37% of men within this community will experience similar aggression. The statistics of successful prosecutions are hidden far away from public view. Sometimes it appears that nobody is worried if LGBT+ people become victims of crime. The implicit message is that the community is deserving of such treatment.
It is also important to emphasize the fact that the LGBT+ community is just like any other. There are misfits and troublemakers. Therefore; it is expected that a few bad eggs will make the cut. The real dilemma is how we can deal with this threat of violence. The fact that the victims are largely silent also reduces the possibilities of challenging those who are trampling on our rights. Suffering in silence has never won us any rights. Indeed, many of the things that we have achieved as a community are directly linked to a certain level of militancy and persistent advocacy.”
So, how can I support you?
*Ensure your views, opinions, wishes and needs are understood, respected, listened to and met
*Inform and support you about your options, concentrating on what you need and want
*Ensure you understand and receive your legal rights and entitlements if you report to the police
*Inform you of other options you might have
*Offer compassionate support to people who are supporting you – your partner, friends and family
*Arranging appointments, referring you, or possibly going with you, to other support services, such as counselling, domestic abuse and refuge support, drug/alcohol services and health appointments
*Arranging appointments and referring you to sexual health services via Umbrella Sexual Health
*Arrange for, and support you to attend SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) if you have been recently assaulted, if police are involved or not, for the possible collection of forensic evidence
I am here to provide practical and emotional support and help you express your views and wishes. Make sure your voice is heard and you are aware of services you have access to.
If you are thinking about reporting to the police, I will offer you support throughout the criminal proceedings, which I understand may feel scary but I am here to support you. You call the ISVA office on 0121 643 0301 option 2 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org
You are valued and you don’t have to feel you are on your own.