Some things to consider if you have recently been sexually assaulted
An experience of sexual assault can leave one in a state of confusion and overwhelm. It can be hard to know what to do or what options you have for support, healing and justice.There is no right way to react, so know that whatever you are feeling is common and not in any way abnormal. What happened to you is not your fault and you did not deserve it. No one invites, causes, or deserves to be sexually assaulted. You are not to blame.
You are not alone. We are here for you and will do our best to support you and provide you the support, information and resources you need so you can make informed decisions about what to do next. Please know that only you know what the right decisions are for you.
The VSAC Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is available 24/7 to support anyone (all genders) over 13 years old who has experienced sexual assault in the past 7 days. They can provide a survivor with information, support, medical care and referrals. The SART team can be accessed through the Vancouver Island Crisis Line (1-888-494-3888) or by going to the Victoria General Hospital emergency room or a police station in the Greater Victoria area.
Below, we have outlined some considerations that might be important if you have recently been sexually assaulted.
Safety – You have a right to safety
- If you are in immediate danger and need urgent medical care you can contact 911
- If you are on campus at the University of Victoria you can contact Campus Security at 250-721-7599
- You might also want to consider reaching out to someone you trust such as a friend or family member to come over and stay with you or offer the emotional support you need during this difficult experience
- More information about safety and safety planning can be found at https://www.antiviolenceproject.org/safety-planning/
Support – You have a right to seek healing
- Information about our support hours can be accessed here https://www.antiviolenceproject.org/support/
You might also want to check out additional crisis resources that provide support and information to those who have experienced sexualized violence here https://www.antiviolenceproject.org/resources/links/
Medical care – Your body is yours
- Even if you do not have any apparent injuries it can be a good idea to seek out medical care after an assault. For more information about some options you have and what to expect when accessing medical care and forensic examinations, check out this resource (https://vsac.ca/recent-sexual-assault/ ) compiled by the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre (VSAC).
- From VSAC: “if you are considering reporting to police, it is helpful not to shower, bathe, douche, change or destroy clothes, or straighten up the location where the sexual assault occurred. This could be used as evidence by the police. However, if you have done any of these things that is completely normal and does not mean there isn’t evidence that can be collected.”
Reporting – You get to choose what you do next
- If you want to explore the possibility of reporting (to UVic, an agency, police, etc.), we are happy to help you access information so you know what your options are, what reporting might involve, and support you through the process of making a report.
More information about reporting options can be found on our reporting page https://www.antiviolenceproject.org/reporting/