Being sexually assaulted, whether by an acquaintance or a stranger, can be very physically, emotionally, and psychologically traumatizing. In the aftermath of a sexual assault, it is normal to feel vulnerable and not know what to do or who to turn to. One important thing to remember is the fact that you are the victim, and you are not at fault. Take the following steps if you have been sexually assaulted:
Call a Rape Crisis Center
There are a number of rape crisis centers across the country, and they are typically staffed with well-trained victim advocates who are available to provide moral support, answer any questions, and guide you through the options that you can take. If you choose to go to the hospital, a rape crisis center can help arrange to have an advocate to be with you.
Keep Evidence Intact and Get Medical Care
After a sexual assault, it is in your best interest to act quickly in order to preserve any physical evidence of the attack. Avoid showering or removing the clothes that you were wearing at the time of the incidence. When you visit the hospital, experienced medical staff will be able to do a through rape examination to assess any injuries that you may have sustained and also collect physical evidence that links your attacker to the assault.
File a Report with the Police
After a sexual assault, it is in your best interest to file a report with your local law enforcement agency so they can investigate the incidence further and use the available evidence to make an arrest. Filing a report with the police as soon as possible can help ensure that your memory is fresh so you can give a detailed account of what happened. It is not uncommon for victims to have a hard time discussing what they went through, so don't be afraid to ask to have a victim advocate present to help provide support.
Get Intensive Counseling
A sexual assault is not something that can just be brushed under the rug and forgotten about. The effects of this type of attack can be long-lasting and psychologically harmful without intensive treatment from a counselor who specializes in working with victims of sexual assault. It is a good idea to begin counseling sessions with a center like Park Center Inc as soon as you find an experienced counselor who you are comfortable around and feel like you can trust.