Sex LifeSex Health

7 Things You Should Do If You’ve Been Sexually Assaulted

The increased public conversation surrounding sexual assault, harassment, and abuse is an important step forward.

It’s helping lead a national and global movement that aims to address this prevalent problem.

It’s also letting people who have experienced sexual assault know they aren’t alone.

Approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men experience sexual violence in their lifetime.

If you’ve experienced sexual assault, know that it isn’t your fault.

If you’ve been sexually assaulted, you may have many mixed emotions. You may also ask yourself many questions. All reactions are valid..

Sexual Assault Is

An umbrella term that encompasses many types of sexual activity, contact, or behavior that’s performed without explicit and enthusiastic consent.

The legal definition of sexual assault can vary by state.

These activities include (but aren’t limited to):

  • rape
  • attempted rape
  • harassment
  • fondling
  • unwanted touching, either over or under clothes
  • incest
  • child sexual abuse
  • molestation
  • unwanted oral sex
  • flashing
  • forced posing for sexual pictures
  • forced performance for sexual video

Things to Do

We hope this guide can serve as a resource in your time of need and answer any questions you may have about what to do next.

1. Consider Your Immediate Safety

Call 911 if you believe you’re in direct danger. Leave any location or situation that doesn’t feel safe. Call a local or national resource center to seek shelter and assistance.

2. Find Someone Who Can Help You

This can be a trusted family member or friend. It can also be an advocate from a local crisis center.

3. Seek Medical Care.

You can get treatment for injuries from a clinic, doctor’s office, or hospital emergency department. You can seek medical care without reporting what happened to law enforcement.

4. Consider Getting a Sexual Assault Examination, or a “Rape Kit.”

This preserves potential DNA evidence. In the event you decide that you do want to proceed with official charges, this kit will be invaluable.

5. Write Down What You Remember

If you decide to report the assault, this information may be helpful to you and police officers.

6. Find Mental Health Support

Your local crisis center can connect you with professionals skilled in this area of support.

7. Figure Out Your Next Steps

A sexual assault service provider can help answer any questions you may have. They can also connect you with resources you may need, including legal and medical options.

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