After Sexual Assault

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 following sexual violence can help ground you in a difficult time.

I Am a Kid and Something Happened

If someone touches you in a way that’s not okay, or shows you something that makes you feel like you are not safe, you don’t have to keep it a secret. It’s not right, and it's not your fault.

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Recovering from Sexual Violence

Recovering from 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. Here are some resources to help you navigate the process.

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Reporting and the Criminal Justice System

Did you know that many rape prosecutions end in a plea bargain? Or that a victim may not have to testify in court? Here’s everything you need to know about pursuing justice after sexual assault, from reporting processes to rape kits.

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Survivor Stories

Hear from courageous survivors about what it means to tell their story and be believed—and what it takes to continue thriving after sexual violence.

  • Steps You Can Take After Sexual Assault - It’s hard to know what to do, how to feel, or what your options are after a sexual assault. There is help available—you are not alone. 
  • Safety Planning - Brainstorming ways to stay safe may help reduce the risk of future harm. 
  • Receiving Medical Attention - After sexual assault, a medical exam can check for help check for injuries, even those you may not be able to see.
  • LGBTQ Survivors of Sexual Violence - Sexual violence affects people of every gender identity, and sexual orientation. As an LGBTQ survivor of sexual violence, you may face many of the same emotions and challenges as other survivors, but also might encounter additional hurdles.
  • How Can Therapy Help? - If you decide to seek support from a therapist after sexual assault or abuse, you may have some questions. That’s perfectly normal. Working with a therapist can help you deal with some of the challenges you may be facing.

  • Reporting to Law Enforcement - Understanding how to report and learning more about the experience can take away some of the unknowns and help you feel more prepared.
  • What Is a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam? - During a sexual assault forensic exam, a trained healthcare professional can collect DNA evidence from your body, clothes, and other personal belongings.
  • Tips for Talking with Survivors of Sexual Assault - It’s not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, especially if they are a friend or family member.
  • Telling Loved Ones About Sexual Assault - It can be hard to talk about an experience with sexual violence, and sometimes it may feel most daunting to bring it up with people you are closest to. Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself before telling someone, tips to help prepare for the conversation, and ways to cope with unhelpful reactions if they occur.
  • Help Someone You Care About - There are many ways that you can help a friend or family member who has been affected by sexual violence.

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