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Original Illustration by Gina Escandon for Her Campus Media
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

Trigger Warning: Sexual assault

Healing after sexual assault is often overwhelming and sometimes lonely. After my own experiences with sexual assault, I struggled to understand how to heal and move forward. I felt like I was mentally stuck, constantly reliving the experience. After some discussion with my doctor, I began to consider sexual assault counseling, but what I didn’t realize was how different forms of counselling could impact my healing.

My first experience with counselling was in a local hospital. I felt rushed into talking about what happened when I wasn’t ready to, and I was asked questions that felt too overwhelming to answer. I quickly realized that I wasn’t searching for medical advice but advice from someone who could guide me through my feelings. Since discovering SASC (Sexual Assault Support Centre) in Waterloo, I feel much more comfortable and healed.

SASC Waterloo offers services to anyone over 16, regardless of gender. These include an online chat, a twenty-four-hour service line, group workshops and individual counselling. Personally, I have attended individual counselling for the last month or two. Despite the extensive waitlist to be able to start individual counselling, I found it worthwhile.

My experiences with SASC have been incredibly positive and comforting. The bi-weekly individual sessions consist of an hour-long video/phone call with a counsellor. With all honesty, talking to a counsellor feels like talking to a friend who knows all the right things to say. I don’t feel pressured to describe my experience – everything is taken one step at a time. I can talk about my goals and feelings and how I can navigate them in a healthy way. I’m able to heal at my own pace and my fears are always sorted out with my counsellor. It feels relieving to have someone validate my emotions and help me figure out the way I feel. Sometimes, it feels as if you won’t be understood after experiencing sexual assault, and for a while, I thought I’d never be understood. But thanks to my counsellor’s endless patience and understanding, I finally feel like I can overcome my sexual assault.

It’s scary to open up about a sensitive topic like this but services like SASC help make the healing process a little less daunting. If you were ever considering sexual assault counselling, then I definitely recommend SASC. With them, I feel supported, heard and validated. I’m sorry to anyone who has experienced sexual assault or violence; you are loved, supported and heard. The first step in the healing journey is always the hardest – it feels impossible to reach out to others for help, but if you ever feel that counselling is a step you want to take, I hope that SASC is a place you can start.

Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier University