Experiencing sexual assault

After being sexual assaulted, victims experience different feelings and it’s important to be able feel all these feelings without any shame. Common feelings include anger, sadness, being afraid and worry. Everyone has a right to experience their feelings in their own way and know that all these feelings are ok and normal.

Sometimes a victim of sexual assault might feel that what happened to them is their fault and it’s important to know that it isn’t and to show themselves compassion and to listen to their thoughts and feelings when they feel ready too.

It can be extremely difficult for victims of sexual assault to seek professional help, but it’s important to remember that this can be done whenever it feels right or when they feel ready.

It’s common to want to ignore or avoid feelings, as this can be used a survival technique. But when someone does feel ready to seek professional help, there are a lot of services that can provide support:

· a doctor or practice nurse at your GP surgery

· a voluntary organisation, such as Women's Aid, Victim Support, The Survivors Trust or Survivors UK (for male victims of sexual assault)

· the 24-hour freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge, on 0808 2000 247

· the Rape Crisis national freephone helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2.30pm and 7-9.30pm every day of the year)

· a hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department

· a genitourinary medicine (GUM) or sexual health clinic

· a contraceptive clinic

· a young people's service

· NHS 111

· the police, or dial 101

· in an emergency, dial 999

Source: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/help-after-rape-and-sexual-assault/

As well as seeking professional advice, someone may or may not want to speak to family or friends, but might feel as if they won’t get the support they need. This doesn’t mean to say family and friends won’t be supportive but they might not give the support that the victim needs, this can be for various reasons including not being informed about sexual violence or knowing what to ask and say. It’s important to know that nobody owes anyone more details than they want to give.

Please know that there is support for you and that we at Say it Loud believe you.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for educational purposes only. Nothing in this article is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. All views are by the team, unless stated otherwise.

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