Healing after a sexual assault can be a difficult and complex process. Though each and has their own way of coping with traumatic situations, some reactions are common after experiencing sexual assault.
You might be feeling…
A sense of loss or powerlessness. Sexual assault is ultimately a crime of control and power. Many survivors experience feelings of intense helplessness.
Fear. Many survivors feel extremely fearful when placed in similar areas as the one in which they were assaulted. Survivors may also experience unease and be suspicious when in the presence of other people.
Numb. Some survivors simply don’t feel anything. Shock and disbelief are normal phases that survivors go through and could last years. Feeling completely calm after an assault is normal; however, SAVA’s advocates can help to ensure that you have the support you need to help you feel like yourself again.
HAVE YOU BEEN ASSAULTED WITHIN THE LAST FIVE DAYS?
The immediate aftermath of a sexual assault can be a confusing time for survivors. You may be presented with decisions that you’re not ready to make. This is completely normal. However, several medical options are only available within 5 days of sexual assault.
- Measures to prevent pregnancy and contracting a sexually transmitted infection are most effective within 5 days of an attack.
- Evidence collection (a rape kit or Sexual Assault Nurse Examination) is an option within 5 days–some evidence lasts even after bathing. Consenting to a SANE exam does not mean that you have to report to the police, but it does gives you more options should you decide to report in the future. The SANE exam is free and emergency room costs can be covered by insurance or Victim’s Compensation. SAVA advocates are available to accompany you during the exam and to help you apply for victim compensation.
- If you think drugs or alcohol may have contributed to the assault, you may wish to received a toxicology report. Toxicology testing should be performed within 3 days (72 hours) for the most accurate results.
Even after 5 days, sexual assault survivors are still encouraged to seek treatment from a health professional.
Read more about common reactions after sexual assault at the button below,
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