It is important that the victim of sexual violence understand that no matter where they were, the time of day or night assaulted, what they were wearing, or what they said or did, if they did not want the sexual contact, then the assault was in no way their fault. Persons who commit sexual assault do so out of a need to control, dominate, abuse or humiliate.
A victim’s immediate concerns after a sexual assault should be their health and safety. Some of the first steps include:
- Getting away from the attacker to a safe place then call 911 or the police;
- Calling a friend or family member you trust or call a crisis center or a hotline to talk with a counselor;
- Seeking medical attention right away
The decision to report sexual violence lies within the discretion of the sexual assault survivor. If planning to report, it may be helpful for the survivor to immediately write down everything they can remember about the assault. Writing it all down will not only aid the survivor in recalling details should they be required to testify, but it also gives the survivor an active role in the investigation, which can allow for a feeling of empowerment and an element of control in a situation where control has previously been taken away.