The Sexual Assault (part 3)

April 28, 2017

Sexual assault has an enormous influence on the victim’s physical and mental wellness. However, only 20-25% of students seek professional help after the incident. Although it can be hard for the victim to reveal their vulnerability and ask for help, it is important to do it to recover.

Immediate Steps

  • Find a safe place. It can be your campus health center, or the home of your friend or family member. You should not be alone there. Call for assistance from that place.
  • Contact the authorities. Tell where, when, and how the assault occurred.
  • Get medical help. Do it in any case, as soon as possible, before taking a shower or changing your clothes. It is important to treat your injuries and collect evidence. To receive professional help, call the National Sexual Security Hotline for hospital referrals, go to a sexual assault nurse to gather evidence, take emergency contraception to prevent the pregnancy risk and get screened for STD.

Moving forward

  • Stay safe. If you live with the assailant, obviously you have to move to a safe place. Do not let the assailant know where you are.
  • Seek counseling. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE or ask help from your campus health service.
  • File a civil protection order. Also known as a restraining order, it will not let your assailant approach you or communicate with you.

IF your friend is assaulted

  • Take them to a safe place
  • If he/she blames oneself for the attack, reassure them
  • Listen to them and be supportive. Avoid such phrases as “I’m sorry” as they induce powerlessness
  • If you witnessed the assault, take detailed notes
  • Take the victim to the hospital and make sure they see a sexual assault nurse
  • Encourage joining support groups or attending counseling sessions

Assault

Recovery

It is essential for the victim to seek help from medical professionals and counselors to prevent:

  • Physical aftereffects: pains at injury sites, muscle cramps, disrupted sleep, absence of libido
  • Emotional aftereffects: guilt, rage, helplessness, emotional outbursts
  • Mental aftereffects: PTSD, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations

Due to numerous positive effects of counseling, ALL victims need to get professional help.

Additional resources

Today, numerous colleges, community organizations, and movements aim to take steps towards decreasing the risk of sexual assault for students. The following resources are provided for them:

  • Campus Statistics for Sexual Violence. See campuses with the highest and lowest rates of sexual assault when you choose a college
  • Special applications for emergency cases. They help victims quickly communicate with authorities in emergencies
  • NotAlone.com. It helps students learn their rights and get support
  • National Sexual Assault Online Hotline and Chat. This anonymous and secure resource greatly helps assault victims

You should know as much as possible about sexual assault prevention and recovery. This knowledge can save your health and life.

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