What can I do if I’ve been assaulted?
If you have been sexually assaulted, know that you are not alone and you do not have to navigate this by yourself. There are people and resources to support you. Immediately after an assault you may want to ensure that you are safe and address any medical concerns and you don't have to go alone.
The more information you have in terms of options for support, the better equipped you are to make a decision about moving forward that is right for you.
Later, connecting with someone you trust whether this is a friend, family member, counsellor or advocate from a sexual assault centre could be helpful in reducing the isolation you may feel.
Please remember that feelings of fear, confusion, embarrassment, shame, anger and guilt are quite normal, but it is important to understand that what happened was not your fault. The responsibility for sexual assault lies solely with the person or people who commit it.
After an assault, survivors may experience sleep disruptions, panic attacks or anxiety, outbursts of anger, extreme sadness or depression, feelings of powerlessness and/or physical injuries from the attack itself or physical symptoms that manifest due trauma. Everyone is different and people process trauma in a variety of ways. There is no specific timeline for how individual bodies, minds and souls remember these events.
Here you can find resources to support you both on and off campus and this website has other information you may find helpful.
SELF CARE CHECKLIST - for the first few days after an assault
- Find a space where you feel safe and comforted
- Sleep and Rest
- Eat and Hydrate
- Avoid Substance Use (including alcohol)
- Exercise (runs, walks, climbs, whatever)
- Consider getting a medical check (ideally by staff trained in sexual trauma)
- Consider writing down your memories as they come back to you
- Be kind to yourself
- Give yourself time
- Consider telling someone that you trust who will believe and support you