What is self-harm?
Some people self-harm as a response to sexual violence. Self-harm is anything that someone does to cause harm to themselves. This includes cutting or burning, not eating, taking drugs and working to exhaustion.
Why might I self-harm?
There are many reasons why you might self-harm after experiencing sexual violence.
Sometimes we experience emotions at times when we aren't ready to deal with them or feel it's inappropriate - for example, crying at work or school.
You might self-harm to use pain as a way of suppressing or distracting yourself from your emotions.
When our emotions become too much for us or too painful, it can feel like a pot about to boil over.
Causing ourselves harm can be a way of relieving some of this pain and can give us a sense of relief, like taking the lid off the pot of boiling water.
When we feel numb, experiencing pain is a quick way of proving to ourselves that we can still feel and are still alive.
Feelings of shame or guilt can sometimes make us to believe we deserve to feel pain.
As well as controlling emotions, self-harm can give you a feeling of control over your life more widely.
After experiencing sexual violence it's common to feel out of control. Through self-harm you might feel you can bring control back into your life - for example, by choosing how you hurt and when.