Victims of rape and sexual assault endure a great deal of pain and anguish, which may go unnoticed by the general public. Even if your outward appearance suggests otherwise, your friends and family may believe you’re alright. As a result, you and others may not be able to discern the extent of the victim’s physical and mental injuries. If you have been sexually assaulted, you have a number of choices accessible to you.
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Prepare a strategy for your legal defense.
Some victims are adamant that they wish to report the attack to the police or bring legal action against the perpetrator. When it comes to reporting an assault, many people aren’t that clear-cut. However, with the help of a sex crimes lawyer and a mental health aide, victims can find strength in pursuing justice.
Assault victims have a variety of reasons for not reporting the incident or pursuing legal action, including fear of retaliation. Their attacker was someone they know, and with whom they may have shared friends, family, or acquaintances is a huge concern for most victims. Seventy percent of all sexual attacks are carried out by someone the victim knows. As a result, survivors frequently suffer from feelings of worry, humiliation, and self-consciousness about their experiences.
Making a report, communicating with law authorities, and possibly testifying against the perpetrator in court all carry the risk of repeating the trauma for victims who choose to remain silent. The distrust of law enforcement among those who have had terrible experiences with them in the past can further dissuade those affected from coming forward.
Make sure you’re protected.
Prioritizing your safety and well-being should be your number one priority following sexual trauma. The most common reactions to an assault are shock, derealization, and a feeling of being entirely out of one’s depth. Immediately following an assault, the limbic system—the region of the brain that processes emotions and triggers fight or flight responses to perceived threats—is “working on all cylinders,” she explained.
Survivors need to adopt coping methods that have helped them feel safe and regular when faced with big stresses before establishing a sense of safety and normality. As a last resort, you can call your best friend or a trusted family member to come over and stay with you or snuggle up under a pile of blankets.
Think about your treatment choices.
After a sexual assault, many survivors are hesitant to seek medical help. Ultimately, you must select what you should accomplish based on your own unique set of physical, psychological, and emotional requirements and desires.
Following an attack, going to a hospital or other medical rape facility has various benefits. Most importantly, health care practitioners can treat body injuries and help you maintain your physical and sexual health. You may also be given a sexual assault kit, which can be used to gather DNA, blood, and other evidence in the event of a rape. For those who cannot make a police report right away, some facilities will freeze the evidence and keep it for future use.
A rape kit might be alarming since you’re admitting to yourself and others what has happened when you purchase one. However, once you are confident in your decision, you should hurry to complete the procedure. Many jurisdictions have a 72-hour window in which to collect physical forensic evidence. Patients who opt for an exam are strongly advised to avoid showering or combing their hair before finishing the rape kit.
As a victim of sexual assault, you may not know what to do next or what options you have available. Relax and take solace in knowing that you are not the only one going through this.