When a sexual assault occurs, the person who was assaulted may feel out of control of their own life. They may feel alone and completely unsure of their next move. Unfortunately, this often leads to many survivors suffering in silence and not getting the support they need. But it’s important to remember that there are people who are willing and ready to help them.
Why Is It Important to Reach Out?
While you do not have to speak about your trauma if you do not want to, there are certain ways that reaching out can help you with your recovery. Survivors will respond to what happened to them in different ways. Some people may struggle with depression or have flashbacks to what happened to them.
Some survivors may be concerned about STIs (sexually transmitted infections) in which case seeking help from a trusted medical professional can be beneficial. There may have also been other physical injuries from the assault that a doctor should look at. It’s important to note that you may need to ask to have test for STIs, even if your doctor knows you’re getting an examination for sexual assault. Infections don’t always have symptoms. When you speak up to your doctor, you can get definitive answers and treatment if you need it. Another reason to see a doctor is if you’re concerned about pregnancy, which can happen after a sexual assault. They can answer your questions and talk about your health further.
But there are more issues that can arise in the wake of a sexual assault. Survivors may struggle with self-harm or turn to substance abuse as a coping mechanism. Dissociation is another mechanism that survivors may turn to, but it can affect their ability to function in reality because it hinges on separating oneself from the real world.
Trauma can also lead to sleeping disorders, where the person either can’t fall asleep, stay asleep, aren’t getting enough sleep, or are sleeping to much. When one cannot rest, their health declines and it’s harder to lead a regular life. Sexual assault can also affect a survivor’s eating habits and can lead to eating disorders. It could be from someone not eating at all to going through binges, where they have no control and eat large quantities of food without responding their body if it’s trying to signal that it’s full. An eating disorder can occur if the survivor doesn’t feel in control and channels this through not eating or if they turn to food as a source of comfort.
Who Can You Contact?
We’ve already covered seeking care from a medical professional that you trust and are comfortable with. But there are so many other kinds of people who are out there that can help you. You can report what happened to the authorities, so you have an official police report stating your attack. If the assault happened on a college campus, you may look into seeking school authorities as well. They’ll be able to notify the school that a person committing sexual assault is around their school and is putting students in danger. They may also discover that the rapist is a student or staff member, and they’ll be able to take measures against them to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
If you need to talk to someone, you can contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline. You’ll speak with a trained individual who will listen to you no matter what. They may also be able to direct you to other services or helpful resources in your area. This line is confidential, so there is no risk in your identity being leaked out. They’re only a phone call away because they want to help you.
You may also have legal options as a victim of a sexual assault. Thomas Law Offices understands the courage that it takes to speak out when something like this happens. We’ll make sure your voice is heard.
Thomas Law Offices Is Here for You
Sexual assault is never the fault of the victim. When people commit heinous crimes like this, they should be held accountable for their actions. We will do everything possible to make sure that you get the justice you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.