Survivors show immense strength drawing on their resources and finding new ways to cope with their trauma. SACHA’s new WebChat & Text Support Service has been used by survivors in many creative ways and situations. The Chat is very discreet so it can be used in situations where talking on the phone would reveal viscerally personal information. The chat has been used to get support after triggering incidents without having to leave the party, to discuss stigmatized incidents while in close quarters with family members due to COVID, and while waiting for an appointment at a medical clinic.
The Chat is also more flexible with regards to timing: it is not unusual for a survivor to take a couple of minutes between texts. This has made it possible for survivors to use the chat intermittently at work and during triggering online lectures. These two features combine to make using the chat much easier for parents who can’t find uninterrupted time alone and who don’t want their children to overhear a phone call.
The Chat is also excellent for sharing resources. It is much easier to receive phone numbers and websites over text than writing them down while on the phone. Survivors have been able to check resources out and let the volunteer know if they look promising or if something else is needed. Often, people use the chat because of anxiety about talking on the phone. We’re able to provide information on how intake works for the counselling program and what anonymous reporting is like, which can give support seekers confidence for taking the next steps.
While we don’t keep records of Chats, support seekers have mentioned saving certain snippets of their chats to look back on later. Many people also find it helpful to have visual representations of information, such as different tools we can share over the platform like visual gifs for guided breathing. Survivors have made the Chat work for them in ways we never imagined while starting the program, and we hope it can be useful in many unique situations to come.