Trigger warning: This article contains information about sexual assault that may be triggering for some people.
Rape is criminal and traumatic. As a survivor, you may feel buried by shock, grief, or anger. All these emotions are valid and normal responses to trauma. In this moment, it can be difficult to discern the best steps to take.
What happened was not your fault. No person deserves to have this happen to them, but there is hope, and there is healing for you. Read this article for the next steps to take if you have experienced sexual assault.
Go Someplace Safe
If this has happened recently, go immediately to a safe, non-stimulating place, away from where the incident occurred.
If you have the option, call a trusted family member or friend so that you are not alone and have someone to take care of you as you recover.
Consider Whether or Not to Contact Law Enforcement
Rape is undoubtedly a crime, but it is your decision whether or not you report this to law enforcement right away.
However, it is important to leave your body as it is. While it is normal to want to shower or clean yourself after such a distressing experience, you should wait before you do anything that could damage evidence. This can help if you choose to report the crime or have a sexual assault forensic exam (also referred to as a rape kit).
If the crime happened recently, you may feel like the last thing you want to do is to talk about your experience with someone, but you may regret not reporting it later.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that there is no statute of limitations for sexual assault cases in Texas that have DNA evidence. This is why it is so important not to make any changes to your body until after the evidence has been collected.
Seek Medical Treatment
You likely don’t want to be touched or have anyone in your personal space, but it is essential to seek medical treatment after you’ve been raped.
Medical professionals are highly trained to treat survivors of sexual assault and will be gentle and respectful. They can also help collect evidence. They can test for STDs and provide treatment, if applicable.
Sexual assault affects not only your body but can impact your mental health as well. As you begin the road to recovery, you can consider counseling.
Therapy can provide a safe space for you to navigate this trauma and its impact on your psychological health. It’s important that you never feel like you’re alone.
What If I Think That I’m Pregnant?
If you are experiencing a missed period after a sexual assault, you may be facing an unexpected pregnancy.
At Hope Women’s Center, we offer no-cost pregnancy services such as pregnancy tests which will show you immediate results. Our medical staff members may also recommend a no-cost ultrasound to confirm pregnancy if needed.
Our trained, compassionate staff members are here to support you and help you discuss your options in a safe, judgment-free environment. We also partner with licensed professional counselors that you can speak with.
We know this is not an easy journey, and we are here to walk beside you.
Contact us today to make a free appointment. We are here for you.