Reactions to sexual assault can vary greatly. 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; she might not want to tell anyone what has happened, or she struggles with feelings of guilt and shame.
If you can, it is advisable to get in touch with healthcare services as soon as possible to receive care and for tests to be taken. Healthcare staff can take samples which can be used as evidence against the perpetrator if you choose to report to the police. The evidence is stored in case you would decide to report to the police at a later stage. Healthcare staff can also test for sexually transmitted diseases.
If you feel mentally unwell after having been sexually assaulted, you can seek counselling or therapy. For many women, meeting others with experiences similar to their own is a source of strength as they realise that they are not alone in having been subjected to sexual violence.