Sexual assault is the enforcement of any kind of sexual contact such as inappropriate touching, rape, and penetration of the mouth, genitals or anus, without the victim’s consent. Sexual assaults can be inflicted by a stranger, or a person known to you such as your husband, relative, friend or colleague.
Sexual assaults can have a mild to life-threatening effect on physical health, however, it always tends to have adverse effects on your mental health; the extremes being going into a permanent depression or development of mental disabilities.
Handling Sexual Assaults
If you or any of your acquaintances have been a victim of sexual assault, you need to educate yourself about the physical and psychological effects to help yourself or your loved ones out of the situation and motivate them to a normal, healthy life ahead.
To cope with the Physical Injuries
- If you have been sexually assaulted, and critically injured, find a safe place as soon as possible and immediately call The Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre nearest to your location, or just seek help by screaming or calling up the people in your neighborhood.
- If you are still able to walk, try your best to go to the local police station and file a case against the person or people concerned. Then, ask for their assistance in taking you to the nearest hospital.
- DO NOT take shower, wash or bath. Resist the urge to do clean yourself as it may remove any helpful evidences to support your complaint. In case of oral penetration, avoid drinking, eating, washing your mouth or brushing teeth.
- Avoid disrupting the scene of crime in any way. Get away from it as soon as possible to prevent any loss of plausible evidence.
To Cope with Mental Injuries
There are four phases a person may go through after a sexual assault:
This comprises of a combination of feelings such as that of disbelief and shock, disorientation, shame, guilt, numbness, extremities of behavioral outbursts and fear. Stay calm and seek emotional support from your friends and family.
Some symptoms of this phase include severe disruption of normal life, refusal to talk about the assault, suffering from severe mood swings, irritability, and helplessness. Adjust to the realization that the incident has happened with you and it was not your fault.
Depression, fear, change in sleeping and eating patterns, loss of self esteem, and social withdrawal. You must endeavor to take control of your life and start participating in social events. The assault was inflicted upon you without your consent; hence you must not feel responsible for it.
Once you have reached this phase you are in safe zone. You will gradually learn to accept and succumb to a normal, routined life and regain your composure.
Sexual assaults are very agonizing to deal with. In this phase, a person needs mental assistance from their friends and family. Do not be depressed, instead search for ways to reshape your life and move on.
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