a person who was sexually assualted speaking with a sexaul assault lawyer in missouri

Steps to Take After Being Sexually Assaulted

Sexual assault is one of the most terrifying and traumatizing events an individual can experience. Survivors often suffer considerable physical injuries, including some that may affect their reproductive health. Getting treatment often comes at a significant financial cost, which can be exacerbated by the need to take time off work to recover emotionally. In many cases, the most persistent consequences are far-reaching psychological wounds, which can lead to depression, anxiety, phobias, and PTSD.

Sexual assault is a crime, and the perpetrator may face severe consequences if prosecuted and convicted. However, survivors of sexual assault in Michigan also have the right to seek financial compensation for their losses via a civil lawsuit. If you’ve been through this terrible experience, taking the following steps can improve your chances of recovering physically, emotionally, and financially—and of holding the perpetrator responsible for what they’ve done.

Seek Emergency Medical Help

Your physical health and safety should be the top priority after surviving a sexual assault. Even if you don’t have visible injuries, it’s crucial to get a thorough medical examination as soon as possible. Doing so will help you receive treatment for any injuries you may have suffered without knowing it, get preventative medication for STIs, and obtain emergency contraception if needed. A medical exam can also collect vital evidence law enforcement could use if you decide to report the assault.

When you arrive at the hospital or medical facility, inform the staff that you have been sexually assaulted so they can follow the appropriate protocols. You may also request a trained sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) to perform the exam and collect evidence. Remember, seeking medical care does not obligate you to file a police report, but it keeps that option available.

Get Emotional Health Support

The psychological impact of sexual assault can be profound and long-lasting. It’s essential to prioritize your mental health and well-being by seeking support from trusted friends, family members, or professionals. Consider contacting a local crisis center or sexual assault service provider that offers free and confidential help like counseling, support groups, and advocacy.

Remember that everyone processes trauma differently. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel after an assault. Give yourself permission to experience and express your emotions without judgment. If you find yourself struggling to cope, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional who specializes in working with survivors of sexual violence.

Report the Incident

Deciding whether to report a sexual assault to law enforcement is a deeply personal choice. You are the only one who can make that decision. If you do choose to file a report, it’s best to do so as soon as possible to aid in evidence collection and gathering witness statements. And remember: if you’re not ready to report the assault now, you can still change your mind later on.

When filing a report, provide as much detail as you can remember about the assault, including the date, time, location, and any identifying information about the perpetrator. The officer will likely ask you to provide a formal statement. You may also be asked to undergo a medical forensic exam if you haven’t done so already. Remember, filing a police report does not obligate you to press charges, but it creates an official record and enables law enforcement to investigate.

Contact an Experienced Missouri Sexual Assault Attorney

Filing a civil sexual assault case in Missouri can be legally and emotionally challenging, which is why it is crucial to do so with the assistance of an experienced sexual assault attorney. The seasoned legal team at Privette Law Office is dedicated to helping sexual assault survivors across Southern Missouri, and we are ready to give you the support and advocacy you need at this challenging time. Contact us today for a confidential consultation with a compassionate attorney, and we will fight for the compensation you deserve.