6 Things To Do If You’re A Victim Of Sexual Assault

What should you do if you're a victim of sexual assault? | Source: Shutterstock

What should you do if you’re a victim of sexual assault? | Source: Shutterstock

Sexual assault is a reality for millions of men and women all around the world, but its commonality doesn’t make the struggle any easier. While assaults from strangers is what’s often depicted in the media, you have a larger chance of being sexually assaulted from someone you know–a friend, a partner or a member of your family. But no matter who the perpetrator is, know that you’re not hopeless in your situation. Here are 6 things you should do if you are a victim of sexual assault.

1) Find A Safe Space

Whether it’s a friend’s house or a local hospital, find a place where you’re comfortable. Just make sure you’re far away from your assailant, period.

2) Collect Evidence

Don’t shower, wash your hands, brush your hair, rinse your mouth out or anything else that will wash away any physical evidence that can be used against the person who assaulted you. Even writing down what happened to you in detail counts as evidence.

3) Seek Medical Attention

Seriously, make sure that you get checked out. Call 911–yes, this is an emergency–or show up at the ER. Other than this working as a way to collect evidence against your assailant, this is for you to make sure that you’re not hurt. And even if you don’t appear to be physically harmed on the surface, there is always a risk for STDs or pregnancy.

4) Understand How Reporting Your Assault Works

You’re under no obligation to report your assault if you don’t want to, even though we urge you to do so.  According to RAINN, the Rape Abuse And Incest National Network, some victims feel as if they regain a sense of control over their circumstances when they report what happened. If you’re a minor and decide confide in a teacher, doctor, therapist, etc about your assault, know that they are required to report it to the proper authorities. But don’t let that dissuade you from discussing this with someone you trust.

The authorities have the right to investigate your case and press charges against suspects if they want to, but without your cooperation they won’t have much to work with.

5) Find Someone To Talk To

Whether it’s a therapist, your mom or your best friend, please don’t keep this bottled up inside of you. Admitting that you’ve been sexually assaulted can be scary and it can feel humiliating, but know that there will absolutely be people out there who will listen to you, trust you and believe you. Don’t worry about burdening them with your problems. Know that these people love you and want you to feel safe.

6) Remember That Nobody Is To Blame But The Perpetrator

You are not to blame for somebody deciding to take advantage of you. You didn’t lead anyone on. You didn’t actively participate in y our own assault. If anyone should feel humiliated it is the scumbag who harmed you. Yes, there will be scumbags out there who are prone to think that rape victims are liars. Don’t let this negativity control you. You know the truth so let that be your guide.

If you’re still not sure what to do or how to cope, call RAINN at 1-800-656-HOPE for free, confidential help.

If you’ve been sexually assaulted, what steps did you take? How did you help out a friend who was in this position? Tell us in the comments!

 

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  • Sylvia

    I was assaulted by my father over a period of 4 years. When I eventually told my mum he was arrested. 3 years later he was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in jail.

  • Lola

    I was raped at my party by one of my best friends. It’s not a big deal until you actually realize what has happened to you. It’s ok not to care like it’s ok to flip out. Everybody needs that processing time. Hardest part for me was that my whole school found out and that’s all anybody ever talked to me about. I never complained about them speaking of this with me bcs I guess I got so use to it… Also another thing is, don’t let what other people say get to you. Even if it’s your offender. Stick to your story because you know what happened best. What happened to me is that my offender claimed I was concentent and all these insults came my way like: “whore” or “slut” “skank” what not. So believe that you are not responsible and that nobody knows better then you what you need and what happened.

  • Elizabeth

    Hi ladies! My uncle was my babysitter for an entire summer and he molested me and made me feel uncomfortable. I had no problem telling people about it because I was only 8 years old when it happened and at that age, I didn’t understand what the idea of sex and sexual attraction was so I enjoyed the attention I was getting. But I never told my parents, I was scared. One day my best friend told my mom. Anyways, time passes and I’m going to court, I lost my case to the statute of limitations law and he got out with no charges whatsoever. Don’t let this happen to you, save another girl’s innocence and get the courage to do so. Also seeing a therapist doesn’t make you crazy, it really helped me and we usually didn’t touch on that subject, I just talked about life and she listened. Now I deal with dyslexia, and the need to be noticed by makes and attraction to older men because of what happened. I’m getting better now that I have a bf of 9 months whom I would never cheat on and love to death. Please take my advice, as a 19 year old college student who went through similar to what some of you ladies did, I didn’t know how to solve it as a 15 year old girl with no one to turn to. This post is meant to be brutally honest so you know you’re not alone. Find your courage because there are people who will listen and help you.
    With love. If you ever need to talk, reply to this comment.

  • Dakota

    I was sexually assaulted by a family friend for almost an entire year. I didn’t tell anyone because I was afraid of him and what he would do to me or people I care about. I finally told my counselor and she reported it and we’re now going through all of the steps to get him convicted. The reason I finally had the chance to tell someone was because my boyfriend made me feel safe and told me that it wasn’t my fault and that I wasn’t alone. More importantly, he trusted me. I had told my grandmother but she just brushed it off. Once you know that people are behind you and will believe you and that you’re not alone it’s a lot easier to step up and tell someone. I waited for a while to tell anyone about what happened to me, but when I finally did most people listened and they believed me. It’s not the victim’s fault no matter what anyone says. No matter how they dressed or what they did or said. Since I was assaulted by an adult he knew better. He was at fault because he knew that it was wrong and that I was a child. So my advice to anyone who was a victim of assault don’t ever let anyone tell you that it was your fault. Because it wasn’t.