False allegations kill
The editor read an incredibly sad story about a mother who killed herself a year after her son committed suicide following a false allegation of rape.
Suicidal feelings are not uncommon among the falsely accused. In the Oxford University research paper “The Impact of Being Wrongly Accused of Abuse in Occupations of Trust: Victims’ Voices” 8 of the 30 participants in the study said that they had had suicidal thoughts.
So what can help the victim of false allegations to cope with their suffering? The study found that the participants found the following strategies helpful.
- A majority found that support groups such as FACT were helpful. Some also saw their doctors and had medication and others sought counselling.
- Supporting others in a similar situation helped some, though others understandably wanted to try and forget the whole episode and avoid situations that would remind them of what happened to them.
- Participants had also developed a “resilient mindset” learning to appreciate what they still retained, for example, their families or their freedom.
- Support from others such as friends and family was important. The editor’s experience is that such support far exceeded his expectations and was the main source of his strength.
- Learning new hobbies and pastimes helped to relieve stress and improve self esteem.
- Five participants found their religious faith was a source of strength.
People find their own ways of coping and what suits one person may not be right for another. Probably the most important thing to do if you have suicidal feelings is to talk to someone about them. This could be a friend, a partner, or the Samaritans. It’s important to see your GP who will be used to listening to people with suicidal feelings and will be able to arrange further support if necessary. If you feel in immediate danger of harming yourself dial 999 or get straight to casualty. Suicidal thoughts are common among the falsely accused and are nothing to be ashamed of. Remember that FACT is here to support and listen to those finding themselves subject to a false allegation.
MIND has an information sheet on how to cope with suicidal feelings
SAMARITANS 116 123 (free phone)
FACT HELPLINE see side panel