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James’s Story

"Freeva didn’t just help him cope with the sexual abuse, but they also took into account the other factors that were affecting his life." Find out how Freeva's services helped James and his friend.

James and I have been friends for about five years. In the time I’ve known him, he has gone through some really tough times, but what happened to him last year really pushed him to breaking point. He was homeless at the time, and was raped by a man on the street.

Not only was he physically injured by the abuse, but he was also severely traumatised. He couldn’t come to terms with what had happened to him, and that was causing a lot of built-up anger. He felt deeply ashamed and isolated, and I think it was that feeling of shame that prevented him from telling me, or anyone, for so long. He couldn’t believe that something like this had happened to him, as a well-built middle-aged guy, you just don’t really hear about it. He seemed to think he was going to get laughed at or judged if he spoke up.

At the time, James was really struggling with his mental health, and I had noticed that it was getting worse and worse, which is what prompted me to sit down with him and check everything was okay. That was when he really opened up to me, and told me about what had happened to him, which was obviously really shocking and upsetting to hear. I told him that he should get professional support, but he was terrified of being judged, not only for having been raped, but for being homeless. I was really worried about him; I could see how much it was affecting his behaviour and even his personality. I gave him Freeva’s information and tried to reassure him that they’d be on his side, and that they’d provide the help he urgently needed.

I was really impressed with the level of support that Freeva was able to provide James. Once he had phoned their helpline and explained his situation, they set up regular calls for him with a specialist LGBTQ+ sexual violence adviser, regularly checking in on him and giving him the opportunity to open up at his own pace. They were incredibly respectful and kind, and genuinely seemed to care about helping him, which made it so much easier for him to be honest and open with his emotions.

Freeva didn’t just help him cope with the sexual abuse, but they also took into account the other factors that were affecting his life. They offered James a referral to specialist mental health support, worked with him to put a safety plan in place regarding his current living situation, provided him with information and advice around finances, talked him through his options regarding reporting his abuse to the police, and put an ongoing emotional support plan in place for him so that he could continue his therapeutic recovery.

With Freeva’s support, James is now in a much better place. He is processing the trauma with the help of his therapy, is more in control of his anger, and is currently waiting to be placed into refuge accommodation. Without Freeva, I don’t know how he would have got through this. Thank you.

Does this sound familiar?

If you or someone you know is experiencing, or has experienced, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, rape and/or trauma, you are not alone.

At Freeva, we understand the unique challenges that members of the LGBTQ+ community often face, particularly around domestic/sexual abuse, accessing appropriate support and facing stigmas.

To receive or refer support, please view our LGBTQ+ Support service.

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James's Story

“Freeva didn’t just help him cope with the sexual abuse, but they also took into account the other factors that were affecting his life.”

Ash's Story

“I will forever be grateful for how Freeva have supported Ash through such a difficult time.”

Marie's Story

Marie called Freeva’s helpline and spoke with a friendly support worker who guided her through weeks of support.

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