Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis

Welcome to issue 2 of Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre's e-newsletter.

We have had a great month with lots happening in and around the centre. We had our 40th anniversary fundraiser which was a big success and we have been busy planning more events that you can get involved in to help us mark 40 years of Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre.

In this edition:

What is the Ruby project

The Ruby Project was started in 2012 by former support worker Pav Sandhu, who recognised that a service was needed specifically for women from black and ethnic minority communities. Sexual violence is universal and happens in all communities, and Glasgow has the biggest ethnic minority population in Scotland, yet few women from these communities sought support at the centre. It was apparent a specialist service was needed focusing on reaching out to these women and recognising some of the specific issues BME women face.

There are many similarities between the Ruby Project and the core service, in Ruby1that women seek support for issues related to childhood sexual abuse, sexual violence (recent or historical), stranger rape and rape within relationships. However, for BME women these issues can be entangled with cultural ideas of honour and stigma. There are also specific forms of violence against women ­– including honour-based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation – that are more common in certain ethnic communities. At the Project, we try to understand the barriers BME women face in accessing support – like language, fear, stigma, racism, and lack of information and knowledge – and our aim is to break down some of those barriers.

Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre has always had many referrals of asylum seeking women with experience of sexual violence in their country of origin, transit or in Ruby1Scotland. However, there are particular complexities when supporting somebody going through the asylum system, so in 2013 a new role of Independent Sexual Violence Advocate (ISVA) was created. The ISVA would work only with asylum seeking and refugee survivors, helping them through the asylum process and assisting with practical matters. This created a new phase of the Ruby Project in which we could offer a more holistic service, where asylum seeking women could both see an advocacy worker and get therapeutic support for their trauma. The Project currently has a full-time advocacy worker, Hanna, and two part-time support workers, Stef and Taherah.

Advocacy is an essential component of our service. The intricate process of seeking asylum and dealing with the uncertainty of the future has a staggering impact on our service users’ well-being and capacity for integration. Asylum seekers struggle with physical and mental health problems; they lack support systems and adequate financial resources; and they face communication barriers and social isolation.

At the Project, we adopt a person-centred approach, which takes into account the specific needs of individual women. Some survivors want support only in dealings with their asylum claims; some want to speak about what has happened to them in a confidential space; and others simply want help with clothing, housing and access to English classes, so they can move forward with their lives as soon as possible. Working with women from 42 different countries requires cultural sensitivity, and we are continually learning from the women we support about how to respond to their needs. We accept that we cannot be experts on every language and culture in the world, but we need to have a willingness to listen and try to understand different women’s realities.

The number of survivors the Ruby Project works with has risen dramatically every year. In 2014-15, we worked with 98 women. In 2015-16, this increased to 166. In the first three months of this financial year alone, 115 women have already accessed the service. Some of these women are referred from various agencies, others are self-referred, and others still come in to our drop-in service on Fridays. We often see women longer than the core service, because women’s experiences of sexual violence are often entwined with issues relating to religion, gender and racism that need to be explored and challenged. Many women find it difficult to open up and speak about themselves, and it can take time to build up trust, especially when interpreters are involved.

Since it started, the project has been in constant development. This year we had our first FGM support group, and we hope in the future to run more groups with women from specific communities and/or around particular issues. Currently, most women we support in the Project have an asylum-seeking background. However, in the future we want to strengthen our relationships with settled communities in Glasgow, reaching out to more women, building more networks and partnerships, and hopefully doing more outreach.

We are keen to continue building on the achievements of the Project. We will have a re-launch of the Project on 15 September, celebrating what we have done and giving us a chance to explain our mission, aims and objectives.

For more information please email info@rubyproject.co.uk

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Event: Support aylum seekers & refugees in Glasgow

The Ruby project is organising an event for asylum seekers and refugees to provide clothing for men women and children. The event is on Saturday 22nd July at Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre and is a woman only event. If you have donations of clothing that you can give please hand them in to us at our centre or email info@rapecrisiscentre-glasgow.co.uk to let us know you want to donate.

Ruby2

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5 minute interview with...

Lauren from the Rosey project

Rosey

1. What’s your job – and how long have you been doing it?

I’ve been the Young Women’s Support Worker since 2014. I provide emotional support and advocacy to survivors aged 13-25.

2. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I really enjoy doing group work – I think it’s one of the most effective ways to support survivors. It really normalises emotions and helps alleviate the shame that almost all survivors feel. It’s great seeing young women make friends and support one another. I love building relationships with young women whether in a group or one to one setting and find this really rewarding.

3. What is the most challenging part of your job?

It can be challenging to work with survivors who have had really abusive or neglectful early experiences. I want to do as much as I can to help within the boundaries of what the project can provide. Sometimes it feels like I can’t do enough but I think that’s common when working in this field.

4. What one thing would you change about your project, or one piece of work you would carry out if you could?

I’d like to do more participation work with young people. I try to take on board all feedback I get from survivors to help make the project better but I’d like to have their involvement in a more dedicated way.

5. If someone gave you £50,000 for your project tomorrow, what would you do with it?

I’d use it to set up a young women’s participation and peer support group. A specific young person’s drop in would also be great, as would the opportunity to do more work with families, but I think I’d need a bit more than £50,000 for all that!

6. What do you want your project to be doing a year from now?

I’d love if we could have made headway with a service user participation project. On a personal level it would be good to finally tidy my desk and do all my filing but that’s less likely to happen...

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Thanks for supporting our 40th fundraiser

We are delighted that our 40th anniversary event at Blackfriars went really well and everyone who attended had a fantastic time. There were a lot of truly great prizes that were won and we had some karaoke and dancing too. We’re happy to say that we raised £660 that will go to help us provide direct services to survivors of sexual violence. Thanks to everyone who supported us!

40th1

Some lucky prizewinners!!


40th1

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Volunteer of the month goes to....

Lesley Baillie

Congratulations to Lesley Baillie who has been nominated Volunteer of the Volunteer of the monthMonth for June 2016. Lesley organised our 40th Anniversary fundraiser on Friday 30 June at Blackfriars which was a great night and raised £660 for the centre.

We know she has a lot more ideas and already has more events planned to help us fundraise to support our important work supporting survivors of sexual violence. Well done Lesley!

P.S. Lesley is the shy one in the middle!

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Event: Glasgow Rape Crisis Charity Gig

Don’t despair if you missed our big fundraiser last month because you have another opportunity for a guilt free night out that’s all in a good cause. Nice n Sleazy on Sauchiehall street have given us an awesome space and bands are playing for us free of charge to show their support for us and our work with survivors of sexual violence. All we need now is for you to come along and enjoy…Sat 30th July 2016 at 7:30pm with donations for entry. See our Facebook event for more info about who's playing. Give generously!

Sleazy's gig

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Event: Mammoth Book sale

For those of you who don't already know we are hosting a mammoth book sale on booksaleSaturday 30th July between 11am and 4pm at the spoon cafe at the corner of Albion Street and Trongate. Everyone is welcome!

Our patron and award winning author Denise Mina will be opening the event.

If you would like to donate books please drop them in to us at the centre before 30th July or email angela@rapecrisiscentre-glasgow.co.uk for more info.

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Friends of Glasgow Rape Crisis

Many thanks to a friend of the Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre, Baroness Helena Kennedy, who had this to say about our work:

"Short of murder, rape is the ultimate denial of a woman's humanity. It is a crime Helenawhose grievousness fails to inspire the rage it should in all of us. This is where women are reduced to objects of humiliation and violence, subjected to the power of another. I pay tribute to the incredible record of the Glasgow Rape Crisis Centre as it reaches its fortieth anniversary. How sad that its work is so needed. The staff deserve all our admiration and support in their precious work.”

(Baroness) Helena Kennedy QC.

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