Experiencing a sexual assault can be an immensely painful and traumatic moment for anyone, and it is important for any sexual assault survivor to remember that there are resources and support available within arm’s reach. Family, friends, loved ones and officials are all viable options for helping you heal and begin to recover from such an experience. Here are a few tips on how to reach out for help after a sexual assault.
1. Call 911.
If you are in any sort of physical danger or have been seriously injured, call 911 immediately in order to ensure your own safety.
2. Talk to a loved one.
If you feel comfortable doing so, share the experience and any pain you might feel with a loved one, family member or friend. Talking about it might be hard, but letting someone else know can often make you feel less lonely in your experience. You will also receive support and comfort.
3. Call a hotline.
If you do not feel comfortable reaching out to a loved one, consider calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-HOPE (4673). The receivers will help talk you through the process of recovery at your own pace and refer you to local sexual assault service providers.
4. Seek legal advice.
There are many options for seeking legal help following a sexual assault experience. For example, WomensLaw.org provides information on finding rape crisis shelters, finding a lawyer, contacting sheriffs and more. Here, you can find specific local help that is available to you depending on your location.
5. Write down what you can remember.
If you feel comfortable doing so, write down details of the assault that you can remember. These will be useful if you ever decide to seek a legal remedy. However, this is an understandably painful process, and do not feel pressured to take this step. Reliving a sexual assault experience is incredibly traumatic.
6. Find a safe space.
Relocate to a place where you feel safe and protected in order to allow for the healing process to begin, and for you to gain some distance from what has happened.
Above all, it is important to remember that you are not alone in your experience, and that you are not at fault. Sexual assault is a terrible thing that could happen to anyone, and we need to take steps to prevent it. In this difficult time, focus and remember on the fact that there are resources out there, there is help for you, and there are options moving forward.Read more in Being HER
Steps You Can Take After Sexual Assault. RAINN. Accessed August 24, 2016.
Hotlines and More Information. Joyful Heart Foundation. Accessed August 24, 2016.
For Survivors. Joyful Heart Foundation. Accessed August 24, 2016.