RASASC presentation

The Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre

Our names are Hannah Bass, Georgia Bousfield and Charlie Geary. We would like to propose
a bid for our charity: The rape and sexual abuse support centre in Guildford. This registered
charity helps around four thousand people a year, in our community cope with the effects
of rape and sexual abuse. RASASC are also trying to make people more aware of the cause.
It doesn’t tend to be publicised very much even though there are around 50,000 rapes every
year in the UK alone.

Have you ever given money to cancer research, to children in need or to a charity for
disabled children? But how many people have ever given to a charity to help victims of rape
and sexual abuse? From the statistics we can tell it is not a very well-known or popular
cause even though so many people are affected by it. It’s not anybody’s fault but, the fact
is, people are embarrassed to talk about rape and sexual abuse. It’s just the society that we
live in.

However, if we come to the realisation that it is happening, we can really help people who
have experienced rape and sexual abuse. You could make a real difference to a person living
only a mile or two away. The rape and sexual assault support centre is making a stand for
those adults and teenagers who do live in constant fear of their abuser. Many adults have
been abused as children and will come forward to RASASC to overcome the effects of abuse
they have suffered all their lives.

Nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, self-blame and strains on relationships are just some
of the many effects that victims must deal with.

RASASC offers two main services to victims. The first is counselling. This offers a safe
environment where survivors can talk to an accepting, honest and empathetic, trained
counsellor. They can talk about their innermost thoughts and feelings without the fear of
judgement or recrimination. This enables a victim to feel that there is someone there for
them. They can start their journey to overcome anxieties. Counselling is offered to every
person over sixteen. They can be male or female. Their other service is a helpline. This is for
victims of any age. RASASC have had seven year olds phoning the helpline.

It takes a lot of courage for someone to talk about what has happened to them and the
helpline makes it that little bit easier. Even if they just need someone to listen. A 50 minute
counselling session costs RASASC £35 and victims are asked to make a donation of £10-£35.
But RASASC has never turned anyone away on this basis.

This is where you could really help. Many victims are students, teenagers or people on low
income. They don’t feel like they can come for help because they can’t afford it. If we did
win the grant for our charity RASASC have said they will make a special fund with the money
for those who are not in a financial state to donate for their counselling. This creates the
possibility for a student or teenager to have a counselling session from £1. Just think. In
some cases it could stop someone from taking their own life. This also enables any money to
go directly to help those in need.

We went to visit RASASC’s offices and we were inspired by the true and honest volunteers,
workers and counsellors who dedicate themselves to help these people. I think the most

important aspect of the visit was the overall feeling of care and support that you felt even as
a visitor. It made you believe that this organisation, even though fairly small, was making a
huge difference to people’s lives.

We also visited the solace centre in Cobham were they take forensic evidence from rape
victims and keep samples so that a victim could have the opportunity to prosecute an
attacker. As well as that, we went to the Guildford crown courts and looked round the
facilities they have for rape victims. It gave us an understanding of the stages that a victim
goes through. And it is awful for them, but knowing that RASASC goes to every effort to
make it better really gave us passion to help the charity.

As they are not government funded, the organisation exists by means of donations from the
public, occasional business sponsorships and the proceeds of fundraising events. RASASC
desperately need more money, so that they can move offices, and expand their counselling
service. Some victims have to wait for up to six months before they can begin counselling

Imagine after having something terrible happen to you, when you finally have the courage
to talk to someone about it, you have to wait for six months before you can do so. So when
you need to talk to someone, RASASC will listen. When you decide to take a stand, to let
your voice be heard, RASASC will support you. When you finally have the strength to speak
out, RASASC will give you the courage to do so.

Every contribution helps a victim to become a survivor.

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