Consent Collective: Group that explores methods of healing after sexual assault and relationship abuse comes to Edinburgh

Dr Nina Burrowes, co founder of the Consent Collective, has come to Edinburgh to help and raise awareness about the healing process after sexual assault and relationship abuse.

Consent Collective: Group that explores methods of healing after sexual assault and relationship abuse comes to Edinburgh

The Consent Collective held an event for Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre on Thursday, where they dealt with healing after trauma.

Dr Burrowes, a patron of the charity, has been travelling around the UK with a documentary crew asking those who attend her groups a very important question: “what does it feel like?”

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She explained: “It’s about trying to understand, develop a process – though I don’t know what that will look like yet.”

The ambition is to be able to return with the tools, a guide, that help people heal and repair.

As a train psychologist, Dr Burrowes has been working with trauma her whole career, starting out working with the prison service and those who committed the offence, then moving on to help those who have been affected.

She has trained police, lawyers, judges and speaks to universities across the country on sexual and relationship abuse.

The groups she now runs through her work with the Consent Collective, which she founded with her partner Cynthia, give people the space to feel validated and heard.

She adds: “It’s not about criminal justice.

"Justice is not within our gift.

"It’s about community and what we can do for each other.

“Which is what a lot of people need.”

Dr Burrowes explained how some women will say how the fact that, even in cases where the perpetrator wasn’t arrested or went to court,the police believed them and that can help dramatically with the healing process.

“Justice can be so much more than putting the perpetrator in prison, there’s a wider justice.”

With women across society constantly concerned for their safety, there can be a stronger and more far reaching sense of injustice, as well as a personal one.

“We look at the shame and anger, the exhaustion, feeling foolish for expecting justice.

"It’s about being heard, being held, not being alone.”

She adds that her work with survivors is constantly inspiring, filling her with awe and energy.

"It’s the wisdom people can share...people who are able to sit with pain and having hope.”

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One woman is killed by a man every three days in the UK.

According to Refuge, one in three women will experience domestic violence in their life, and in the year ending March 2019, 1.6 million women experienced domestic abuse.

Thursday marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and MSP’s in the Scottish Parliament held a minute silence at 1130 am that day to remember all the women who have been killed by men this year.

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison commented: “Violence against women and girls is underpinned by inequality and the attitudes and structural barriers that perpetuate it.”

For more information on the Consent Collective, click here.

Rape Crisis Scotland helpline: 08088 01 03 02

Scottish Women’s Aid helpline: 0800 027 1234

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