What to Do If You Have Been the Victim of Sexual Violence
Sexual violence is a serious and often deadly form of interpersonal violence that can happen in many different ways. It may involve an intimate partner, friend or acquaintance. It can also occur at work or in social settings, such as bars and clubs.
Survivors of sexual violence are likely to experience a range of emotional and physical reactions, including guilt, shame, fear, numbness and shock. These responses can affect a survivor’s ability to maintain personal relationships and return to a normal life.
Involving someone you know and trust can make a huge difference in whether or not you report the crime to authorities. In addition, you might want to seek out support from a professional like a GP, counsellor or youth worker.
If you do report an incident, it is important to remember that the crime is NEVER your fault. You did not consent to be raped, you did not ask for it and there is no way that you could have prevented it.
It is always best to be truthful about the event and not to lie, especially if it is your first time describing it. You can also try to remember how you felt and the effects it had on you at that point in time.
Your body language and expressions can also help you to describe what happened to you. It is important that you don’t scream or fight. Attempting to run away or fight can be dangerous as it will put you in more danger and you might even hurt yourself.
You should also be able to describe what the perpetrator did to you or to your clothes, so you can identify the person who committed the attack. This will ensure that the perpetrator is charged and that you can take some action to protect yourself.
Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a stranger but most of the time, it is committed by someone you know or trust. This can be a family member, a friend or a teacher.
Educating yourself can help you to be an upstander and not to become a victim of sexual violence. You can learn about the symptoms and signs of sexual assault and how to report it.
In the event of a sexual assault, it is very important to try and find out who committed the crime as soon as possible. This is why it is so important to call the police.
You can also find out about the legal aspects of sexual violence by speaking with your GP or counselling professional. This can help you to deal with your emotions and understand what the next steps are for you to take.
Prevention is about fostering environments and cultures where everyone is treated with respect and equality. This is done through promoting safe behaviors, healthy relationships and thoughtful policies.
People who have been sexually abused are 1.5 times more likely to contract sexually transmitted infections and HIV than those who have not experienced abuse. They are also more likely to have unintended pregnancies and abortions.