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Thinking Man on Couch


Sexual assault is any forced, unwanted sexual act perpetrated without consent. Often portrayed in the media as perpetrated by a stranger, most typically a sexual assault is perpetrated by someone the victim knows. Sexual assault can happen to both men and women of any age. [1]

Image by Dev Asangbam

What Should I Do?

What's the right thing to do if you've been a victim of sexual assault? Take care of yourself in the best way for you. For some people, that means reporting the incident immediately and fighting for justice. For others it means seeking medical or emotional care without reporting. Every person is different.

There are four things that everyone who has been sexually assaulted should do:

  1. Know that the sexual assault wasn't your fault.

  2. Report it.

  3. Seek medical care.

  4. Deal with your feelings.

It's Not Your Fault

Whatever happened, it wasn't your fault. No one has the right to force any sexual act on you and against your will. The blame for an assault lies solely with the perpetrator.

Sometimes a perpetrator will try to exert even more power by making the person who's been sexually assaulted feel like it was actually his or her fault. A perpetrator may say stuff like, "You asked for it" or "You wanted it." This is just another way for the perpetrator to take control. The truth is that what a person wears, what a person says, or how a person acts is never a justification for sexual assault.

Most people who are sexually assaulted know their perpetrator. That can sometimes lead the victim to try to protect the perpetrator.

Make protecting yourself your priority; don't worry about protecting the person who assaulted you.

[1] The Blue Bench

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