What to Do After a Sexual Assault

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, sexual assault has been a frequently discussed topic in recent months. The growing awareness of the problem has helped to bring many cases out of the dark, and encouraged survivors to bring charges against their abusers. It is important for victims of sexual assault to get the help they need to heal and recover. It is also vital that they understand their rights and how to obtain help if they decide to take legal action against the perpetrator.

Sexual assaults can have devastating effects on victims, including both physical harm and mental and emotional trauma. These attacks are never something to take lightly or to sweep under the rug. It is a terrible situation to be faced with, and it can leave victims feeling alone, afraid, and unsure of what to do.

If you have been the victim of a sexual assault, here are some of the steps you should take to begin to recover and to take charge of this unjust situation.

  1. Get to safety. The first action to take immediately is to get out of danger. Make sure you find a safe place to stay for yourself and anyone else who might be in danger, such as your children.
  2. Go to the emergency room as soon as possible. Alert the doctors about your situation, and they will be able to assess your injuries accurately and test for any diseases. The medical evaluation may also contain details that could be used as evidence against the perpetrator.
  3. Call the police. Report the sexual assault to local law enforcement so they can work on pressing criminal charges against the perpetrator. California no longer enforces a statute of limitations on sexual assault claims, so you can still report the assault even if time has passed since it occurred. Of course, it is always better to report the assault as soon as possible so that evidence is not lost or destroyed before the investigation occurs.
  4. Get help and support. Sexual assault survivors need to be able to confide in and seek help from understanding people who can help them work through their trauma and begin to heal. Sometimes this is through a family member or close friend, and other times the victim might need the help of a professional counselor. The important thing is that the victim does not feel alone in their pain, and that they have people they can count on to help them through this devastating ordeal. Recovery can take a long time, as the effects of a sexual assault are often very traumatic. Victims may deal with a variety of issues, such as anxiety, depression and insomnia, that can take a long time to subside. Victims should always treat these problems seriously, and seek the appropriate help they need. There are several avenues available, such as recovery and support groups, and counselors that specialize in trauma.
  5. Contact an attorney. While the police can file criminal charges against the perpetrator, it is usually the victim’s responsibility to bring a civil case. Even if the perpetrator is not convicted of a crime, they can still be sued for damages caused by the assault. Victims of sexual assault can sue for both compensatory and punitive damages in California. These damages can include medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, emotional distress, and more.

No one ever deserves to be sexually assaulted. These attacks are devastating violations of human rights, and the people who commit these acts should be held responsible. If you or someone you know has been assaulted, be sure to get the help you need to recover and take action against the perpetrator.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, El Centro, and Yucca Valley, and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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