what

What?

I am shaving my head, all of my recently grown locks will end up on the floor.

Where?

At home, the clippers working under the steady hands of Dave and Tasha, videoed by Tara and photographs by Keisha and Tasha.

When?

1st November 2017.

The clock is ticking, the days are flying by and we are approaching the big day! My fringe, my barrier, my protector will be removed and I will be laid bare with nothing to hide behind!

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I am not backing out but I admit I am scared to go bald ~ my stomach is doing backflips and my heart is racing at the thought. I had looked at wigs for afterwards but they are stupidly expensive and way beyond my budget. Instead I have purchased three different Baker Boy caps to keep my head warm throughout the winter. All three came to £12 with free p&p via Amazon, a price I like very much ~ plus will coordinate with my black scarf, gloves and coat.

baker boy hats

As you can see, I like black ~ but the hats vary, one is knitted, one is double lined and the other unlined so great for the sunnier winter days.

Why?

Why am I doing this? It’s because two very close friends have sadly been victims of sexual assault. After reporting the assault to the police both victims were given a card with the contact details of a charity called SV2.

SV2 is a local charity which is designed to support victims of sexual violence of all ages and genders. In some areas this service is called Rape Crisis or something similar. They offer counselling and support to both children and adults. I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of their work in advocating and support these victims. Of providing them with the options open to them and providing ongoing support throughout the process if they choose to proceed with pressing charges, anonymously reporting or doing nothing.

They categorically do not help any perpetrators of these crimes.

Unfortunately SV2 is a charity and they have to continually seek funding to pay for the service they provide. Sadly, they had to post this message on 24th July of this year..

“Unfortunately as SV2 has not been able to secure future long term funding for therapy and as the waiting list is already significantly high, SV2 has reluctantly taken the very difficult decision to close the waiting list and will not accept any more referrals into the therapy service.”

Knowing how vital this service is for the victims of these crimes I am astounded that they are having to work as a charity and not have regular secure funding available to them. The statement they were forced to make about closing their books to further referrals at this time upset me enormously because it means there are victims of sexual violence with no support to help them deal with the aftermath of such a crime.

It takes specialist counsellors to help them to work through the events that occurred and to decide on what action to take that is best for them. It’s not a simple case of reporting the crime and pressing charges. Sometimes reporting the crime is where the process ends ~ to proceed with pressing charges is a massive step with additional trauma on top of what is already being experienced.

There is a “client feedback” section on the SV2 website, I will share a few of the comments here because I think their words help express the desperate need for this service..

“Thank you for all your hardwork and support. As you know it has been a very gruelsome and distressing time for my daughter, without your encouragement and support she would not have had the courage to carry on.”

“Thank you for all your support and fantastic words of wisdom, but especially for being by my side in court. I can’t thank you enough! “

“I have an incredible therapist at SV2. She is very slowly restoring my faith in professionals. She’s worked with me for 8 months & challenges me every week. Therapy is so hard, it’s not nice facing the things that you’ve pushed to the back of your head for so many years. I’ve built a highly impressive wall around myself, with very solid foundations. It’s incredibly difficult to remove any of those bricks. But I’ve learnt that the wall is there to serve a purpose, it protects me & for whatever reason, I’ve needed that protection. My therapist works with me in ways that I understand & spends time exploring different ways for me to engage. She accepts that I find it difficult to talk & so finds different ways for me to express what I need to say. No one has done that before, they’ve all just said that if I won’t talk, they cannot help. They haven’t spent time understanding why I won’t talk. There’s cuts to funding across the board as we all know. She’s currently secured me another 12 weeks therapy & then after that I will either have to re-refer myself or discuss with my GP using my Personal Health Budget to fund future sessions. I’ve waited years & years for support that is the quality I am currently receiving. I can’t afford to lose that. I am on another waiting list with the recovery services, but that wait is approximately 2 years & not getting any shorter. The struggle to get adequate, appropriate support is very real.It’s #timetotalk #timetochange Thank you”

From my perspective as a friend supporting people I care about going through the process I can say, hand on heart, that SV2 intervened at the most critical time. When thoughts of self~harm and suicide after the assault were increasing to worrying levels the quick intervention of the therapists at SV2 managed to reduce those thoughts and help them to realise that they weren’t at fault. The attack was not invited and that they had to face, address and work towards rehabilitation. Most importantly, as well as helping reduce suicidal and self~harming thoughts they were taught ways to help when going through distressing panic attacks and disassociation episodes. Given the tools to start venturing out of their front doors and facing being out and about in the world once more.

Attacks like these are life changing. The victims never recover to be the person they were prior to the assault. The are always vetting the people around them, cautious about meeting new people and inviting them into their inner circle. They have been left with depression and anxiety which they are both facing in their own ways with further counselling and medication. Life goes on but it’s never the same, that more than anything breaks my heart ~ seeing the twinkle and mischievous glint missing from their eyes.

If you would like to support me in raising necessary funds to help SV2 to continue their work and hopefully reopen their book for referrals you can, simply click on the link below and following the donation process on my fundraising page.

You can select the option of how much to donate and then input your credit card details. At the point of donation you are asked if you wish to pay the £0.94 processing fee or not. If you choose not to pay that’s absolutely fine, it just means that 94 pence of your donation will go towards the processing cost and the rest goes 100% to the charity.

https://fundraise.charitycheckout.co.uk/svtwo/pf/tanya-mawer

I promise *gulp* to upload a video along with supporting photographs in a blog after the hair has come off ~ it won’t be pretty but it will be worth every penny that is received towards helping SV2 continue their service.

sv2-supporting-victims-of-sexual-violence
Thank you

x~X~x