Sexual Assault Treatment Fail, Continued

So, the sexual assault treatment center that refused to see me because I used alcohol called to “follow up” with me. The counselor asked me if I was “ready to take [their] referral so that I could begin the healing process.” WHAT. THE. FUCK. So, if I don’t get completely clean, I’m somehow not “ready” to “begin the healing process?” IF I WASN’T READY TO BEING THE HEALING PROCESS, I WOULDN’T HAVE SOUGHT HELP IN THE FIRST PLACE, ASSHOLES. So, no, I’m NOT going to take your referral because I DON’T NEED SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT. I need sexual assault treatment, which is why I came to YOU in the first place!

Not only that, the phrasing has so much victim-blaming and shaming attached to it that it’s infuriating. If you don’t get sober, then it’s clearly your fault that you’re not healing. Maybe some people need to be completely straight edge in order to think clearly and feel healthy and heal themselves. But that doesn’t make it the right course of action for all people, and trying to tell victims how they “should” heal or cope is fucking unacceptable. There’s no “right” way to be a sexual assault victim, and what constitutes health and healing for one doesn’t constitute it for all.

Again, sexual assault treatment FAIL.

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  1. Nell GwynneNo Gravatar
    Posted June 27, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Permalink


    Is there any sort of governing body for sexual assault treatment that you can refer these people to? Because this is SO incredibly fucked up. I do hope you find the help you need. *hug*

  2. ElodieNo Gravatar
    Posted June 27, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    The victim-blaming is sickening. Frankly, they’re acting like you don’t “deserve” therapy for being sexually assaulted because you drink. Like that means you’re a bad girl and it was all your fault.

    There have got to be real counseling centers out there that will help you. Though as a fellow Floridian, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re not in this state.

  3. I Will Be DeletedNo Gravatar
    Posted June 27, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    I realize you are a counselor…. so it gives you a persepctive.

    But does that mean a police officer can not commit a crime?

    Can a doctor do unhealthy things to themselves like smoke and drink?

    Reading this:

    It seems they want you to be clean and sober… as the first step….

    Didn’t you say your sexual assault occured after a night of partying?

    The fact that they called with a follow up showsthey do care.

    Perhaps jut perhaps there is something you are really afriad to face and you are projecting.

    • Britni TheVadgeWigNo Gravatar
      Posted June 27, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      No, Dewey, you won’t be deleted, though I find it interesting that the only posts you’ve commented on were to tell me that I may have a problem.

      Didn’t you say your sexual assault occurred after a night of partying?

      That has nothing to do with anything, nor does it somehow mean that I have a problem with alcohol. Just because I was drunk when I was assaulted, that doesn’t mean that I *need* to be clean and sober. In fact, most sexual assaults involve alcohol.

      The fact that they called with a follow-up shows they do care.

      No, under the American Counseling Association’s ethics guidelines, you are supposed to follow-up after giving a referral. It’s a way of covering their ass.

      Perhaps there is something you are really afraid to face and you are projecting.

      I’m not afraid to face anything. I don’t have a fucking alcohol problem. *They* may want me to be clean and sober, but if that’s not what *I* want, then it isn’t up to then. Drinking socially is NOT a bad thing, nor is it indicative of a problem.

    • Outspoken CliticNo Gravatar
      Posted June 27, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      This is pretty silly. All of the trauma treatment programs I’ve been in have offered CONCURRENT substance abuse therapy for people who wanted it. I’m not saying that Britni has a substance abuse problem (because she doesn’t), but even if she did it wouldn’t be a viable reason to withhold treatment.

    • frenchNo Gravatar
      Posted June 28, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      The circumstances of the assault aren’t relevant. The person at fault isn’t Britni, it’s the person who assaulted her. Regardless of where Britni was, what she was or wasn’t doing, or where you think she should have been or should have been doing, she is not the one who perpetrated a crime.

      Secondly, making victims and survivors jump through hoops like this before getting a referral for treatment serves to stigmatize sexual assault and rape survivors and victims even further. The message sent is “You must be this good before you deserve treatment”, and in itself can be a re-victimization. It also neglects the fact that alcohol can absolutely be a coping skill. Whether Britni is using it as such, I can’t say, seeing as I’m not her or her therapist, but it can and has been used as such in the past. The person at this center has no idea if that is a coping skill, and it’s irresponsible at best to be potentially forcing someone to give up a coping skill before even being treated for what’s causing them to need that coping skill.

      And finally, how someone is able to make a diagnosis of alcohol addiction over the phone is absolutely beyond me.

  4. Outspoken CliticNo Gravatar
    Posted June 27, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    This is bullshit. I cannot *believe* they would withhold treatment like this. I’m so sorry :-( .

  5. EpiphoraNo Gravatar
    Posted June 27, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    There’s no “right” way to be a sexual assault victim


  6. SaNo Gravatar
    Posted June 27, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Did you tell the lady on the phone what you wrote here?

    • Britni TheVadgeWigNo Gravatar
      Posted June 27, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, pretty much. In a nicer way, and that no, I wouldn’t be taking their referral because I didn’t need substance abuse treatment, and the way I was treated was disappointing. She’s just an intern and just kind of apologized as in, “I’m sorry you feel that way, good luck with everything.”

  7. ParadoxNo Gravatar
    Posted June 29, 2010 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe they’ve got such a ridiculous policy, although I actually know someone else who couldn’t get therapy at the only place her insurance would cover until she was completely sober. You’d think a sexual assault clinic would be better, though!

    I feel like there should be some kind of wider website or organization where people could report on their experiences with clinics or counseling centers. Like but for therapists? There are too many fucked up things like this, and this seems so re-victimizing.

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