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A sexual assault changes your life. Although your body may heal quickly, the emotional scars may last much longer. There is no easy way to recover from an assault. But getting the medical care and support you need is a good place to start.
No one is immune from sexual assault. Women, children, older adults, and even adult men are at risk. Keep in mind that sexual assault is never your fault. Nothing you did caused it to happen. In many cases, the person who attacked you is someone you know or are related to. This is still a crime.
It can be very hard to tell others about a sexual assault. Yet it's important to seek medical care after an attack. A hospital emergency room is the best place to go for treatment. Most ER staff receive special training in caring for sexual assault victims. They can offer emotional as well as medical support. And they can answer any questions you may have. Consider bringing a friend or family member with you. The presence of someone you know can help you feel safer. Many hospitals also have counselors who can guide you through the exam.
Try not to shower, change clothes, or use the bathroom before going to the hospital. This helps preserve signs of the assault and can make it easier to get evidence to prosecute your attacker.
For support services after a sexual assault, contact:
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network: www.rainn.org, 800-656-4673
National Center for Victims of Crime: www.ncvc.org, 202-467-4673