After a sexual assault

Reactions to a sexual assault can vary greatly. The reactions may come immediately afterwards or much later (see “Reactions to violence“). For various reasons, some women seek help after a period of time, some not at all. The reasons can be many, maybe she does not want to tell anyone what has happened, or she is ashamed that she has been raped.

If you can it is advisable to get in touch with the healthcare service as soon as possible for care and for tests to be done. Health care professionals can take samples which can be used as evidence against the perpetrator if you choose to the report to the police. They can also perform tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

The woman does not need to have been physically harmed to seek help. The healthcare professionals can secure evidence even if the assault has not been reported to the police. The evidence is stored in case the woman would decide to report the rape to the police at a later stage.

If a woman feels bad for a long time after the rape she can seek counselling or therapy in a group or individually. For many women meeting others who have been raped is a source of strength as they realise that they are not alone in what they have been through.