BE A SURVIVOR – TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
» Physical self-care
Sexual violence can result in many physical effects which impact your health. It is important that following an assault you seek out health care to be checked and treated for any injuries and other health concerns.
Possible physical health effects for both women and men:
- Physical injuries like cuts, scratches and bruising that can be present on your body, including to the genital area
- Physical aches and pains
- Change in bowel habits as a result of unwanted anal sex – discomfort when passing stool and potentially chronic constipation
- Sexual transmitted infections such as gonorrhea and/or chalmydia
- Depression, mood swings, anxiety, fear/mistrust and anger can all affect your physical self
- Sexual dysfunction
- Self-destructive behaviours like aggression, drugs/alcohol abuse which may be used to dull the pain of the assault, but do impact on your well-being
For women there is a potential concern of an unwanted pregnancy. Depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle when unprotected sex happens, a pregnancy could happen. Even if on birth control there is still a small risk. Emergency birth control can be provided by your health care provider.
» Emotional self-care
Emotional responses of survivors will vary from individual to individual. Sexual assault can be extremely traumatic and life-changing. It’s important to remember that your responses are not crazy; they are normal reactions to a traumatic situation—sexual assault. We can offer support, options and resources that encourage empowerment and healing.
» Know your rights & get assistance with a court case
If you are the victim of a sexual assault and have filed a police report, it is likely you will need to go to court. This can be a difficult and confusing experience. You may have a lot of questions about the criminal court system and what will be expected of you.
» If you make a police report
If you wish to report the incident to police, you should contact police in the area that the offense took place. If you are unsure which police to contact, contact your local police first and they can assist you.
» Sexual intimacy after sexual assault
After a sexual assault, many people find that their sexual attitudes and reactions seem different. While these effects do not have to be permanent, they can be worrisome and prevent the enjoyment of sexual life and intimacy.
Flashbacks are memories of past traumas or feelings of ‘re-living’ the event. They may be in a picture you see in your mind or they may appear in the form of sounds, smells, body sensations, and feelings. Often, there is no actual memory that you can see or hear. You may have a sense of anxiety, panic, feeling trapped or powerless.
» Get some help
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