You may be feeling confused, frightened, angry, shameful, or numb. Reaction among rape survivors varies as does the healing process. However statistics indicate a quicker recovery rate among survivors who seek help through some form of counseling (crisis, short-term, clinical, individual, or group). The longer period of time you wait before talking with someone, the more complex the healing process becomes. Realize, however, that it is never too late to talk about it.
Know that it wasn’t your fault and you’re not to blame.
Talk about it with a friend or rape counselor. You do not have to disclose your name if you call a hotline.
Know that you don’t have to go through it alone. There are understanding people who will believe you and can support you as you recover.
Realize that it’s a violent crime that’s been committed against you, regardless of who the rapist is. Most victims are raped by people they know.
Understand that you can be a survivor and make it through this.
Stages of grief you may experience at different times: denial, anger, sadness/depression, bargaining, acceptance, and inner peace.
If you or someone you know has been raped, support options exist:
Call your local rape crisis center for support. A rape crisis counselor can assist you, accompany you, and advocate for your rights.
Whether or not you decide to report the assault, you may want to be seen at your local emergency room. You have up to five days after the assault to have a rape exam performed, however, it’s never too late to seek medical help and other support.
You may want preventative medication or testing for STDs including HIV. This can be done at the hospital or your local test site. If care is sought promptly, preventative medication may be an option.
You may be concerned about pregnancy. A test can be done at the hospital or local family planning clinic. Within three days of assault, preventative medication may be an option.
If you believe you may have been drugged, you can discuss having a urine test within the first three days with your hospital provider to detect the presence of a date rape drug.
If you choose to seek an evidence collection exam within five days at the hospital, it’s best not to shower, bathe, douche, change clothes or straighten up the area prior to your exam. You can get a medical exam regardless.
You may choose to report the assault to the police. If you are interested in victim compensation, it’s usually important to make a police report.