Being the victim of sexual assault is extremely traumatic, however, knowing how to get the right help and support is very important to both your physical and emotional well-being. If you become the victim of rape, here is some advice about what to do and who to contact.
Go Somewhere Safe
The first step is to go to a safe place – perhaps a family member or friend’s home. Consider telling a trusted person about what has happened to you. You should never feel that you are at fault for the assault. There are several professional organisations that you can get in touch with for advice and support, for example a sexual assault referral centre in your local area, Victim Support or Rape Crisis. For members of the LGBT community who have experienced sexual assault, there are specialist organisations like Galop who can help, and Survivors UK is an organisation which can help men who have been the victim of rape.
Link to Rape Crisis (opens in new tab) – https://rapecrisis.org.uk/
Link to Galop (opens in new tab) – http://www.galop.org.uk/
Link to Survivors UK (opens in new tab) – https://www.survivorsuk.org/
How Can Organisations Help?
Sexual Assault Referral Centres are able to offer advice and support and will also be able to perform a forensic medical examination and also STI and pregnancy tests. Some organisations such as Victim Support will also be able to to come to your home to visit you should you want to talk directly with another person.
Reporting The Assault To The Police
Although you may want to shower and wash your clothes, you should try to resist the urge until you have reported the attack to the police. The DNA evidence that they can obtain will help to identify the attacker and will help to prosecute them successfully. Even if you choose not to talk to the police about the assault you can get help from an SARC who can retain forensic samples if you wish in order to help in potential future crimes.
Link to SARC (opens in new tab) – http://thesurvivorstrust.org/sarc/
To do this, a doctor will take swabs and samples which would only ever be used with your express permission. Many police stations have specially trained officers who are skilled in dealing with victims of this type of attack, and they will treat you courteously and respectfully. Although you can report the attack at any time after the event, if you do so within 72 hours there is a better chance of being able to obtain more evidence and of being able to prosecute the attacker successfully.
When reporting a rape or sexual attack to the police, you will need to make a statement, although you will not be rushed into doing so. Although you may find it challenging or embarrassing, try to give as much detail as possible, especially about the time and place, the sequence of events, any threats or conversations which occurred, any weapons used, and any injuries incurred either by you or your attacker.
Even when you have chosen not to report the incident to the police, you should get medical help after you have been raped or sexually assaulted as you might have suffered injuries which require treatment. You should also obtain advice about STIs and emergency contraception. If you don’t attend a SARC you could go to your family planning clinic, local A&E, your GP or a GUM clinic. Your medical needs will be dealt with by a medical professional completely confidentially and the police will not be informed without your consent.
Women forced into sex without protection may want to use emergency contraception such as an IUD or emergency pill. Anyone who has been raped should also have an STI check up, even if they have no symptoms.
Obtaining Ongoing Support
Being the victim of a sexual assault can be very distressing, and you are likely to go through many different feelings over the days and weeks afterwards. You may experience emotions such as anger, guilt, anxiety, shock or fear, however you need to remember that you were not at fault in any way. You may want to seek support from a local group or a counselling service, and if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression you should see your GP for treatment.
Although there is no time limit on when you can seek support and help after a sexual attack, the sooner you approach a doctor or support organisation, the better the outcome for your well-being. Professional organisations, medical professionals and the police are all aware of the mental and physical repercussions of being a victim of rape, and will never force you to take any action that you are unwilling to take. However, reporting the matter to the authorities is the best way of ensuring that your attacker will be caught and will be prevented from carrying out a similar attack on another person in the future.
Get Legal Help
The after-effects of rape can influence a person’s life in various ways. It could lead to physical injuries such as bleeding, soreness, dislocations and fractured bones. There are also high chances of psychological and lingering mental damages like depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), lowered self-esteem, shock, and dissociation. These and many more factors are what entitle rape victims to receive compensations from the guilty offenders.
Compensation may be the last thing a rape victim considers but in reality it can make life easier if financial concerns are one less concern in an already challenging time., and there are many companies that can help even if it is simply offering free legal help.
Compensation rape victims can claim for include:
Inhibition of Earnings: In the event that your psychological or physical injuries impair your working abilities or even lead to job loss, you are entitled to compensation. The only condition for this is that you should provide evidence to show that you already had some work history by the time the incident was taking place and it was the main and direct cause of your earnings capability getting lost.
Special Expenses: You are also entitled to claiming for coverage of damage that your property has incurred, special equipment and physical aids to assist you in coping with your physical injuries, funeral arrangement expenses and medical care for mentally and physically incapacitated victims.
Injury Payment: These are payments that help in the coverage of treatment costs as well as inconveniences originating from injuries sustained from rape incidences. This covers both mental and physical injuries.
Link to source (opens in new tab) – https://www.legalexpert.co.uk/how-to-claim/how-much-compensation-for-rape-victim/
For those who experience neglect and abuse during their childhood, the effects can be long lasting. Even many years later, adults may still be suffering from the consequences of what happened to them during their youth. There are many kinds of abuse, and while most people think of physical violence or inappropriate sexual contact, in fact emotional abuse, neglect and witnessing of violence within the family are equally prevalent.
Which Factors Affect The Consequences of Neglect and Abuse?
Not everyone who has experienced abuse during their childhood will have the same ongoing effects. However, while for some their outcomes are less adverse, others have debilitating and chronic long-term problems. Some of the major factors which influence the lasting effects include the duration of the abuse, its frequency and whether several types of maltreatment were experienced. Recurrent incidents of abuse which were experienced over an extended period are much more likely to result in ongoing problems as an adult, and this is also true for those who suffered from multiple forms of abuse. Some of the other relevant factors include:
- The age at which the abuse occurred – those who of a younger age are more likely to experience later problems
- How severe the mistreatment was – the more severe, the more chance there is of a negative outcome
- The kind of abuse experienced
- The victim’s perception of the experience and whether they feel shame, stigmatisation or self-blame
- The relationship between the victim and their perpetrator – negative effects are more likely to be experienced in the long term if the perpetrator was somebody with whom they experienced an emotional and intense relationship
- Whether action was taken to ensure the child’s safety
- Whether the victim received therapy
What Are The Long-Term Consequences?
Although some people believe that those who were abused as children usually go on to mistreat their own families, in fact this is usually not the case, however there are a number of other consequences which go on to affect the lives of victims well into their later life.
Evidence has shown that many survivors of childhood abuse go on to become victims again in later life. This is especially true in the case of women who may suffer from long-term low self-esteem and are therefore more likely to be victimised in adulthood.
Physical Health Conditions
Those who were neglected or abused as children have a greater chance of suffering from long term health problems like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, gynaecological problems, strokes, headaches, gastrointestinal problems and hepatitis. This may be because of the impact of the stress experienced early in life or possibly because abused children go on to engage in more high-risk behaviours like drinking alcohol, taking drugs and smoking as they get older.
Mental Health Conditions
Those who were abused in childhood are more likely to suffer from mental health problems such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, psychosis and personality disorders. They are also more likely to attempt suicide than those who were not abused.
Those who suffered from childhood abuse are more likely to be obese as they approach middle age, and those who witnessed abuse or neglect as a child have a greater chance of having an eating disorder.
There is a strong link between neglect and abuse in childhood and substance abuse as an adult. An increased risk of alcoholism and drug addiction exists among adult abuse survivors when compared to the rest of the population, and this may be due to victims self-medicated to cope with the anxiety and depression arising from their childhood experiences.
Those who witnessed violence or experienced abuse as a child are more likely to engage in violence and criminal behaviour themselves as they may have come to associate this type of behaviour as a way of solving problems.
Risky Sexual Behaviour
All childhood abuse survivors, but especially those who experienced sexual abuse, have been shown to be more likely to behave in a more risky manner when engaging in sexual activity. Those who were abused as children are more likely to became pregnant unintentionally, contract a sexually transmitted disease at a young age or engage in prostitution. This is thought to be because victims are poorly equipped to prevent unwanted advances and lack self-esteem.
Those who were neglected or abused as a child are more likely to be homeless as an adult. This may be because adult abuse survivors also find it difficult to get a job due to lower academic achievement because of a traumatic home life as a child. The higher chances of mental health difficulties, violent behaviour and substance abuse also contribute to the difficulty in finding stable housing.
It’s clear to see that the implications of child abuse are long ranging and can persist for many years, even long after the experiences are well in the past.
Going out on the town should be a fun and exciting experience for everyone, but it’s still important to always stay safe and never to put yourself in danger while you enjoy your evening. Whether you’re heading to a party, going dancing at a club or just drinking in the pub, these handy hints will ensure you have a safe yet great night on the tiles.
Stay in a Group
The more people that you are with when out for the night, the safer you’ll be. Of course, the members of your party need to be people that you trust and who care about you. If you’re partying with friends, you can be more confident that you’ll be protected and won’t be able to make a poor decision.
A group size of around 3 to 5 people is ideal – if the group is too big, keeping an eye on everybody can be hard s the night wears on. Setting up a buddy system and arranging a set meeting point should anyone get separated will help to keep everyone on track.
Take The Essential Items With You
Make sure that whichever bag you plan to take on your night out you can fit in all of the key essentials. Yes, you’ll want to take your lipstick to touch up in the bathroom, but there are other more important things to carry along with you. Your phone, for start. Always ensure it’s charged up, and take along a portable charger if you’re out for a long time. You’ll also need to remember to take your keys and have some cash on you as well as just your cards in case you need to pay for an emergency taxi. You may not be able to look for a cashpoint in an emergency situation.
Carry Out Some Regular Checks
Checking up on yourself occasionally through the night can help to ensure that your well-being is cared for. Before you head out, make sure that you’re well prepared and that you have everything you need with you as well as arrangements in place for getting home or somewhere to spend the night. While you’re out, you should take the time to think about whether anything is making you feel uncomfortable, whether you’re getting carried away or whether you might need to slow down your drinking. As time ticks on, you need to make sure that if you’re staying out longer than you expected you have somewhere to stay and a way of getting home the next day. You don’t want to get to the end of the night and then have to worry about where you’ll be heading next as this could leave you vulnerable and put you in a position where you could make a poor decision.
The Importance of a Back Up Plan
Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, so if you lose your keys or phone, or if you lose your friends or drink too much, you need to have an action plan in place so that you don’t panic and know exactly what steps to take. Make sure you have important phone numbers written down in a safe place just in case you lose your phone or if your battery runs out, and arrange someone that you can call if you have a problem or if you need somewhere to stay. While this may sound pointless, if you find yourself in a difficult situation, you’ll be glad that you know exactly who to contact to help you out.
You should consider learning some basic self-defence techniques just in case you end up in a tricky situation at some point. You don’t need to be a black belt in karate, but knowing how to get away from a potential attacker will give you greater confidence when you head out for the night. There are many courses which teach women’s self-defence classes and which can help you get to the grips with the basics.
Watch Your Drink
Of course, you should always avoid drinking so much when you’re out that you don’t know what you’re doing. You should also make sure that you keep an eye on your drink at all times to ensure that nothing gets slipped into it while you were distracted.
Don’t Accept Lifts From Strangers
This may sound obvious, but after a few drinks, the idea of walking home might not be very appealing. Nevertheless, never accept a lift from a stranger, or from someone that you only just met. For a start, they may well be over the limit, and secondly, they may not be trustworthy. When getting a taxi, make sure that they are a licensed cab and if you’re walking home, try not to walk alone as this could put you at risk.