Facts on Sexual Assault

No Means No Sexual assault is any form of sexual behavior that's forced on you or that you haven't consented to. Sexual assault includes rape, but groping, fondling, and molestation are also forms of sexual assault. If someone has touched you in a sexual way or forced you to engage in any sexual activity without your consent, this constitutes sexual assault. When it comes to sexual assault, no really does mean no. If you're not sure that what you've experienced is classified as a sexual assault, talk to a police officer or women's health specialist and find out.

2. Save the Evidence
Don't change clothes, shower or wash your hands before reporting sexual assault to the police. It's a natural reaction to want to wash away the feelings and memories of your assault, but any hairs, skin cells or bodily fluids left behind by your attacker will be needed to help the authorities prove your assault. Allow the authorities to collect evidence from your body and clothes and let a nurse perform a physical examination to preserve any available evidence before you clean up.

3. Report it Immediately
Report your sexual assault to the police immediately after it occurs. The faster you report the crime, the better chance the police have of catching your attacker before he can hurt someone else. The physical evidence is useful and your memory is more clear, allowing you to recall specific details of the attack that, while unpleasant, could be the key to catching your attacker. There is also a statute of limitations in each state that limits the amount of time you have have to report a sexual assault so reporting it immediately is best.

4. Help Yourself With Therapy
A sexual assault is a traumatic experience that is never fully forgotten, so get help to cope with the aftermath of your assault. Hospitals, police precincts and women's clinics all offer rape and sexual assault support groups and therapy sessions. These programs are often free and can be beneficial in helping you deal with your emotions, memories and fears from the assault. If you find yourself feeling depressed or suicidal after the attack, seek help immediately.

5. No Shame
The most important thing to remember if you've been the victim of a sexual assault is that it's not your fault. No one wants or deserves to be raped or sexually assaulted. It's okay to angry, sad, and even scared but do not blame yourself or feel ashamed. It's not your fault.