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Sexual assault is a deeply traumatic experience.  It can be scary and overwhelming to know what steps to take afterward. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, it is essential to understand that you are not alone, and that there are steps you can take to protect your health, safety, and legal rights. A sexual assault victim lawyer can also advise you of the best steps for you.

Immediate Steps

  1. Prioritize Your Safety: If you are in immediate danger, call 911 or your local emergency number. Find a safe location away from the perpetrator.
  2. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you do not have visible injuries, it is important to see a healthcare professional. They can provide necessary medical care, test for sexually transmitted infections, and administer a sexual assault forensic exam (also known as a “Rape Kit”).
  3. Preserve Evidence: Save texts or emails, your location history, and pictures of any injuries. If possible, avoid showering, changing clothes, or cleaning up the area where the assault occurred so that evidence can be collected by medical professionals and/or law enforcement. This helps preserve crucial evidence if you decide to pursue legal action.
  4. Consider Reporting the Assault: Reporting to law enforcement is a personal choice and one that only you can make. Remember that reporting can be a critical step in holding the perpetrator accountable and preventing further assaults.

Emotional Support And Counseling

  1. Reach Out for Support: Talk to someone you trust. This might be a friend, family member, counselor, or a sexual assault hotline.
  2. Seek Professional Help: Trauma from sexual assault can manifest in various ways. A mental health professional specializing in trauma can provide the support and tools needed for recovery.

Legal Considerations

  1. Know Your Rights: You have the right to report your assault to law enforcement, the right to file a civil lawsuit, and in some cases, file a complaint or a report against the perpetrator.  Understanding your legal rights is important in deciding how to move forward.
  2. Consult a Specialized Attorney: An attorney who specializes in sexual assault cases can guide you through the legal process, help you understand your options, represent your interests, and advocate on your behalf.
  3. Confidentiality and Privacy: Discussions with your attorney are confidential. They can help you navigate the legal system while protecting your privacy and dignity.

Long-Term Recovery

  1. Healing is a Journey: Recovery from sexual assault is a personal and ongoing process. It’s important to be patient with yourself and allow yourself the time and space to heal.
  2. Building Resilience: Engage in activities that strengthen your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This can include exercise, art, music, journaling, hobbies, joining support groups, and practicing mindfulness.
  3. Empowerment Through Advocacy: Some find strength in advocacy or connecting with others who have had similar experiences. This can be a powerful way to reclaim your voice and help others.

Final Thoughts

Remember, experiencing sexual assault is never your fault, and you have the right to seek justice and support. The Kellogg & Van Aken LLP law firm is committed to supporting victims of sexual assault. We provide confidential consultations and are dedicated to helping survivors navigate these challenging times with compassion and expertise. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Each situation is unique, and readers are advised to seek professional legal counsel for specific advice.