• Stay Brave Team

Stay Brave introduces “Speaking Out”

We've launched our first survey project, "Speaking Out", and we'd like you to help reach more survivors.

Estimates suggest that, in the last year alone, 1.3 million women and 700,000 men experienced domestic abuse.[1] This shocking figure doesn’t even come close to the full scale of the issue: add in the hundreds of thousands each year who experience other sexual violence, image-based sexual abuse, stalking, harassment, or coercive control and you’ll no doubt double those estimates.

But despite all these figures, it still remains very tricky to establish exactly how many are affected by abuse, assault and violence.

The difficulty in getting to grips with the extent of the problem is largely because many survivors are living with their experiences in silence, often taking years to reach out to others for support – if at all.

In fact, almost 1 in 3 will not tell anyone about their experience at all, and – for those who do speak out - a large proportion will only ever disclose to their partners, family or friends, never seeking professional support.[2]


So why are so many people choosing not to speak out about their experience?

We hear from many survivors who tell us about the barriers they faced (and often continue to face) when it comes to sharing their experiences with others. From fears of not being believed; continued fear of their abuser; or for thinking they were somehow to blame: the reasons for not speaking out are highly individual and often very complex.

Finn’s story demonstrates the many complex factors involved in a person’s decision to speak out. Mental and emotional reserves can be spent just trying to deal with the day to day; your experience can feel trivialised by rape jokes and media commentaries; to be turned away from services; to be faced with other issues relating to your sexuality; to fall into patterns of self-isolation.

Stories like Finn’s are all too common. All survivors deserve the right to accessing timely support appropriate for their needs - regardless of gender, race, sexuality or any other factor. But there is much more to be done to ensure that these needs are met. We believe in the power of voices, and know that together we can make sure survivors’ experiences, needs, and wishes are heard.

“Speaking Out”

At Stay Brave, we are committed to making the voices of survivors heard. This is why we’ve launched our “Speaking Out” project: to better understand the complex reasons why some choose not to speak out and to understand what support is the most important in encouraging others to share their experiences.

We think of speaking out in two ways:

  • speaking out in a safe and confidential space, and

  • speaking out publicly (whether anonymously or otherwise).

Whilst we know that speaking out publicly is not always the right thing for everyone, we know that all survivors deserve the right to feel that they can share their experiences with others, and receive appropriate support, without shame or barriers.

This project seeks to make this a reality. We know that by better understanding the barriers that survivors face, we can work to bring these barriers down.


Get involved

Stay Brave relies on you, our wonderful engaged supporters, to make our work happen! There are a number of ways you can support this exciting project, and make your experiences heard:

  1. Take part in the Survey We’re inviting anyone (18+) who has ever experienced any type of domestic or sexual abuse to take part in our survey. Depending on how much you wish to share with us, the survey should take no more than 10 minutes of your time, and will ask you questions about who you spoke to about your experience, whether you have ever spoken out publicly, and what support you had throughout the process. Take part in the Survey By taking part in this research, you’ll be helping us to produce a resource pack developed specifically for survivors of abuse and assault, with information and considerations for how, when, and why to speak out. All our research findings will also be published into a report, and made available to professionals throughout the sector. We will also be using the insights from this research to inform Stay Brave’s future campaign activity: ensuring we’re doing best by you to tackle stigma and prevent abuse.

  2. Share the survey We definitely don’t underestimate the power of the people, and we know that one share can go a long way. So please join us in sharing this survey with the handy link: www.staybrave.org.uk/speakingout

  3. Become a Stay Brave Champion If you’re feeling inspired to speak out and share your story, we’re proud to be able to offer a Champions Scheme, developed to support and empower survivors like Finn to use their experiences to affect positive social change. To sign up, you will be given the opportunity to leave your email address for more information from Stay Brave’s Campaign’s team – leave us your details and we look forward to getting in touch soon!


[1] ONS Crime Survey for England and Wales, 2018

[2] ONS Crime Survey for England and Wales, 2017

#StayBrave #domesticabuse #SexualAssault #Reporting #Awareness

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