Sex After Rape: The Letter
‘I have been to Sh! before, and found it to be a really fantastic experience.
I think it’s better if I’m open and honest about why.
I am a rape survivor and had a really, really difficult time with sex.
After all the emotional recovery was done, I found the sexual recovery even more difficult and lonely.
The reason is that there are services to help you with the way you feel after rape, but after the initial crisis period is over, there’s nothing to help you with the long-term effects such as how it affects the way you feel about sex and your body. It impacted on the way I felt about sex massively.
When I found your shop, it felt like a safe place to explore sex again.
The reason I’m writing is because no one really talks about it, and there is hardly anything on the internet on the subject too, resulting in feeling very alone with this.
Women feel isolated dealing with their sexual recovery afterwards.
[I’ve talked to other rape-survivors] and the interesting thing was, that all women felt they were abnormal for the sexual problems they were experiencing and had never talked about them before, because they didn’t know where to turn. But many of them were experiencing the same problems, and in some cases exactly the same physical reactions, yet each woman thought she was the only one reacting that way.
I found your shop so helpful. It is the fact that it is female focused that makes it so special for any woman, but especially women who have experienced any sexual violence.
It would be great to talk about how sex can be enjoyed by yourself if that’s what a woman wants, or how it can be pleasurable for a woman and her partner without penetration, because many women find this difficult after rape. I think it would be great to talk about how women can make sex about them again, even after sex has been about violence…
We received this letter just before Christmas. It inspires, humbles and fortifies all of us, here at Sh!
It also reminds us in a deeply personal way to say ‘thank-you’ to everyone who chooses to shop at Sh!
By choosing to shop with us ( whether online or at the Sh! store) you help us to keep our bricks and mortar store, even if it may not make the soundest of commercial sense, as internet-shopping intensifies.
Sexual exploration, expression, renewal or recovery often goes way beyond dabbling with the new FSOG collection or upgrading a bunny and for that to be a positive experience, it often requires one-on-one understanding and guidance ~ something an internet-only company just cannot provide.
This letter, and many others from women who have had an sexual epiphany at Sh!, mostly around learning to orgasm for the first time, confirms why it is *so* important to keep the Sh! store truly female-focused by asking guys to come along with a woman, even if that definitely doesn’t make sound commercial sense!
Sometimes it doesn’t just come down to the bottom dollar.
So, Thank You to *everyone* who chooses to shop with Sh!, whether online or in store.
By doing so, you’re helping us to keep our unique environment; a safe, welcoming and empowering place for women and couples to explore, express and enjoy their sexuality.
We appreciate your support.
There’s clearly a need for more support for women reclaiming their pleasurable sexuality after sexual violence ( Government statistics released in January 2013 estimate that 1 in 5 women (aged 16 – 59) has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16) and we’re talking to our letter-writer about setting up a support group at Sh!
Women should not be left to feel isolated or abnormal. Sexual recovery is as equally important as emotional recovery.
If you would be interested in helping to set up, or attend, such a support group, please email email@example.com, in the strictest of confidence, as always, at Sh!
If you’ve been a victim of rape or sexual assault, Rape Crisis have a Freephone helpline 0808 802 9999 open from 12 – 2.30pm & 7 – 9.30pm.
* we had to change/cut the letter a little to retain anonymity. The words in [brackets] are ours. Everything else is in her words entirely.