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    “Going home almost seems… not real to me. Like it’s a chore.”

    Our homes at times can either feel like a place of solace or a prison. This feeling can be more conflicting than ever after you’ve been sexually assaulted. Whether you have a support system in place, returning home can be terrifying in many of ways. This could be where everything happened, something there can trigger a bad memory, or this could be the last place you want to be, no matter what the reasoning is.

    From my experience, it’s important to know if you’ve been through this or not to know, just how to make home feel welcome to the person walking through that door. Now, coming from someone who wasn’t personally effected I realize things of this nature need to be looked at from two perspectives. For me, seeing it from the eyes of someone who had to be the support system of someone returning home, I know that the first return is the most important. This doesn’t lessen the other times that person will come back, but the first always means the most.

    Walking through that door that person knows they’ll never feel the same. They won’t look at things the same way and it’s up to us to let them know that that is okay. There’s nothing wrong with changing because we will change with you. There’s nothing wrong with feeling hurt because there’s someone there to heal you.

    The way we react to someone who’s afraid to be home is the most important thing we can do in this situation. Once a base of love and caring is established, going home no longer feels like a chore and their road to where they want to be can begin there. From my experience, the two things that I (as someone who was the support system) could offer, was love and and an ear to listen. Most times it’s hard for that person to be able to speak up and love can just be enough. To know when someone is at what is probably their most vulnerable and fragile stage all they need is to know someone is there caring about them and loving them, no matter how they feel about themselves, is such an important thing. Being the one to lend an ear when their ready is the most important thing. Show them the love you’ve been showing them when you listen, give them support throughout their story and show them that home isn’t something to be dreaded, it’s something to look forward to because that’s where love lives.

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