It’s ok to be me: new resource on trauma launched for young survivors aged 12- 14
Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre’s STAR Project for young survivors has created a self-care resource on trauma and its effects, specifically for 12 – 14 year olds who have experienced sexual violence.
The STAR Project offers free and confidential support to young people, including all members of the trans community and non-binary people aged 12 – 18 who have experienced sexual violence at any time in their lives. This includes rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual bullying or sharing an intimate picture without your consent. In 2018-19 130 young people affected by sexual violence received long-term support by the STAR project, 79 of which were new to the service. The STAR team have a wealth of expertise through its counselling and creative therapies, such as art therapy and dance movement therapy. Using this, they have produced, ‘It’s ok to be me’, a 34 page booklet which aims to explain trauma and its effects using language, exercises and illustrations which are in a sensitive tone for young people. ‘It’s ok to be me’ explains what consent and sexual violence are. It includes a wide range of exercises to help facilitate ways of coping with issues and feelings, such as: building self-confidence and self-esteem; shame, guilt and blame; self-harm; eating disorders; relationships; sexual feelings; anger; anxiety; and sleeping disorders. It also includes helplines, text support, online support and apps that the STAR team know will be very valuable.
Sarah Murray, Senior Counselling and Support Worker at the STAR Project said: “We wanted to create a booklet that would be helpful and user friendly to young people as there aren’t many resources for survivors of sexual violence on trauma and recovery targeted for this young age group. “Our evaluations show that those who have received support from STAR, experience an increase in confidence relationships and mental wellbeing, and 81% of those using the service experienced an increase in being able to cope with trauma and its impacts. We wanted to share our knowledge, and the booklet is filled with exercises, tips and suggestions from our ‘tried and tested’ specialist support. We identified the most common effects and issues that come up in our support sessions with young people. The booklet aims to explain to the young person reading it that they are not the only one to experience these, and what they are going through is a normal response to trauma – and reassure them that they will get better. “A key priority was that the information and language was age appropriate for 12-14 years olds, and would be sensitive and accessible for young people who have experienced the trauma of sexual violence. We tried carefully to explain different concepts such as boundaries with cartoons (page 25) and included links to videos eg how trauma and the brain works (page 7), and at the end we included a glossary (page 30) to explain what the words in the booklet meant.
“The contents section on the first page is very important and there for a reason as not all of the content will be appropriate for each young survivor. For example, some sections could trigger feelings or memories associated with the trauma they’ve experienced. So when we give the booklet out, we always point out the contents section and explain this, and suggest that they pick and choose the sections they look at.” Caroline Burrell, Centre Director: “We are very proud of this bespoke psychoeducational resource for 12-14 years developed by our STAR team. It will be a very important resource to help young people navigate their journey with STAR to recovery from the sexual violence they have experienced.”
You can download an online copy of the booklet 'It’s ok to be me’ from our website here. If you would like to request a printed copy please email firstname.lastname@example.org For young survivors aged 15 and over, and adults, Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre's Little Green Book looks at trauma, the effects of sexual violence, ways of coping and recovery. You can read our Little Green Book here.