After the hospital
The SAS team will give you information about commonly experienced feelings, thoughts, and responses to sexual assault. We will also give you some recommendations for follow-up medical care. The Sexual Assault Service counsellor will call you within a week to see how you are doing, answer any of your questions, and offer you one-to-one counselling (if you think it would be helpful). You can also call the counsellor at any time if you want support or want to book an appointment. You do not have to deal with this alone.
Being sexually assaulted may challenge one’s sense of self, safety and wellbeing. There is no right or wrong way to react or respond to a sexual assault. Survivors react differently as each person and each situation is unique.
We respect your decision of whom you may wish to talk to - family, friends, professionals, support services, and/or the police. We also respect your decision not to talk about the assault with anybody.
The following are a few common reactions people may experience after being sexually assaulted. All reactions are normal but we know normal does not mean easy. You may experience different symptoms or thoughts at different times.
- Disbelief or denial (it was just a bad dream, maybe it didn’t
really happen, or did it?)
- Emotional shock (numb, void of feelings, unable to cry)
- Guilt (did I do something to make this happen, if I had only… I should have…) You are not to blame for this crime
- Anxiety (panic attacks, difficulty breathing, feeling
- Fear (afraid to; go outside, be alone, around large groups, of going to sleep)
- Powerless (will I ever feel in control of myself or my life again?)
- Angry (at the assailant, at the people you love, at the
people trying to help)
- Depressed (unable to get out of bed, no appetite, no/
low motivation, exhausted, isolated)