"I was sexually assault on the bus a few nights ago."

Question

I was sexually assault on the bus a few nights ago coming home from a night class. I live in a very large sketchy city with lots of crime around the certain bus route I take for the hour and half journey home. It was frightening. I was cornered. I lost my voice, I couldn't call out. I immediately told the police after, and a couple days later went to the station for a video recorded interview and sat with a sketch artist that drew him. Yet they still haven't caught him. I'm so anxious these days that I can't eat. I vomit uncontrollably whatever I do manage to get down. My bottom lip is slit and bruised from biting it unintentionally, and I constantly go into panic attacks because I'm scared. Of everything now! I don't have a family, and very few friends for support. I have some very big final exams in a week but I can't even focus to study. I don't know a lot of the material and I'm freaking out because passing means everything to me. How do I move on from feeling dirty, used, stupid, worthless, and alone? I don't like myself. And I just want the police to catch this guy so he can pay. He stole my sense of security, and I'm pissed off because of that. Help! I'm feeling very low and depressed.

Answer from counsellor

Thank you for gathering your courage and writing to us at such an incredibly difficult time, I’m sorry that your attacker took a normal routine part of your day and turned it into such a disempowering experience . I hope that I will be able to provide you with resources and information that can help you find your way past your fear, anger, feelings of loneliness and worthlessness to a safe place, where you can start to nurture, love, and trust yourself again. The most important thing, you need to know: you did NOTHING WRONG, the sexual assault WAS NOT YOUR FAULT under any circumstances. You say the attacker stole your sense of security, I hope that you feel a bit of your power (your metaphorical voice) has returned to you by reporting him to the police. Though they have not caught him yet, I urge you to hold on to your faith that they will, since according to your post it’s only been a few nights. I sense you’re anxiousness and urgency for justice, once your attacker is caught he can ‘pay’ and you can move on with your life, I’d like to suggest that by reporting you already are taking small steps to move on. I am wondering have you sought medical attention? Have you gone to the counselling centre at your school? They can arrange for you to defer your final exam to give you time to deal with your assault so you can refocus on your academics. Have you reached out to a sexual assault centre? If you haven’t because you don’t know of any in your area then feel free to contact us either by Live Chat kidshelpphone.ca/Teens/AskUsOnline/Chat-counselling.aspx or phone 1-800-668-6868 and we can get you resources in your area. You can also do your own search through the “Resources Around Me” tool on our website: kidshelpphone.ca/ResourcesAroundMe. Professional Counselling can be an important part of the healing process. I am also enclosing a couple of links that can provide you with more information about sexual assault kidshelpphone.ca/Teens/InfoBooth/Violence-and-Abuse/Sexual-Assault.aspx and kidshealth.org/teen/safety/safebasics/rape_what_to_do.html#a_What_Should_I_Do_ You mention you don’t have a family and you have few friends who can support you, do you have any SAFE/TRUSTED ADULTS (teacher, guidance counsellor, therapist, doctor, friend’s parents, social worker, clergy etc.) who you can talk to about your feelings? If you are not ready to talk to anyone in your life just yet counsellors are here too 24/7/365. Everything here remains 100% anonymous and confidential as well. So keep us in mind. simply_coffee, I am sending you my thoughts, and strength. Remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE