Sexual Violence is a broad term used to define the continuum of acts of violence which can violate a person’s trust and sense of safety.
The continuum of sexual violence includes rape, incest, child sexual assault, date and acquaintance rape, statutory rape, marital or partner rape, sexual exploitation, unwanted sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure, and voyeurism.
Rape is not about sex, but about power and control.
It is never the victim/survivor’s fault.
Whether or not you are receiving counseling it is important to take care of yourself to reduce symptoms, prevent future long-term problems, and heal from the trauma. Everyone heals differently but here are some different ways you can try:
- Talk to a friend, family member or professional
- Eat healthy foods & drink plenty of water
- Meditate or try yoga
- Make sure you are getting 7-8 hours of sleep a day
- Pray or seek support from your faith
- Create art, dance or play
- Be with nature
- Listen to music
- Relax in a hot bath or shower
- What helps you in times of stress?
Learning how to cope with reactions after a trauma are vital as you may experience many things. Some of the reactions may seem “normal” while others may be confusing or counterintuitive.
What to do if You Have Been Raped
Your immediate safety is the first priority: call 911 if you are not safe.
When you are safe, seek medical attention right away. This is the first step of recovery. Call 911 and describe the assault or rape.
If you are seriously injured, go to a hospital and explain what happened. The hospital will call 911 to ensure that the above occurs when your health status is stable.
Remember you are not alone.
There is a national network that is available to you. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, online.rainn.org y rainn.org/es) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.
Please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline, available 24/7, if you need immediate support, 800.656.HOPE (4673).
To find a RAINN center in your area go to: https://centers.rainn.org/
After sexual assault, it’s hard to know how to react. You may be physically hurt, emotionally drained, or unsure what to do next. You may be considering working with the criminal justice system, but are unsure of where to start. Learning more about what steps you can take to take following sexual violence can help ground you in a difficult time.
Recovering from a sexual assault or abuse is a process, and that process looks different for everyone. It may take weeks, months, or years—there’s no timetable for healing.
Sexual violence can have psychological, emotional, and physical effects on a survivor. These effects aren’t always easy to deal with, but with the right help and support they can be managed.