What to do if you’ve just been raped
Trust House Lancashire provides a range of support services for people affected by rape and sexual abuse.
It can be difficult or uncomfortable to talk about sexual violence because of fears of not being believed or fear of being blamed for what has happened. Feelings of shame or self-blame can be common feelings expressed by victims and survivors of sexual violence.
There are also a number of misconceptions or myths about sexual violence and rape that aren’t true and that don’t reflect the reality of rape and sexual violence for victims. Trust House Lancashire works to raise awareness of sexual violence and the needs of survivors to better enable them to work through their experiences and access justice and appropriate support.
What to do if you’ve just been raped
Call the emergency services on 999 if your life or health is at risk. If you can get yourself to a place of safety do so.
If your health is not at risk and you want to report the attack, notify the police as quickly as you can. Reporting rape can help to ensure your safety and the safety of other potential victims.
If you don’t want to report the offence, but wish to be seen by a medical examiner you can do this if you’re 16 years and over. The Lancashire SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination) Centre provides forensic examinations, advice and support to women, men and children of all ages who make a complaint of rape or sexual assault.
A medical professional at the Safe Centre will collect any evidence in a supportive environment.
Call the SAFE Centre on 01772 523344 and a member of staff will help you.
You might find it helpful to have a friend, family member, or someone else you trust to stay with you.
It’s helpful if you can preserve all physical evidence of the assault. Ideally this means not showering, bathing, douching, or brushing your teeth. Keep all of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. If possible use a paper bag, not a plastic bag to hold clothes. Try not disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred.
If you contact the police, they will contact the SAFE Centre for advice on whether an examination is necessary. At the examination they will check that you are okay and collect forensic samples that could be used in court as evidence.
Even if you don’t have any physical injuries, it’s still helpful to have a forensic medical examination. It will give you an opportunity to discuss the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections and the possibility of pregnancy resulting from the sexual assault and to get appropriate support.
If you suspect that you’ve been given a rape drug, inform the police/examiner and they will ask you to provide a sample of urine as rape drugs, such as Rohypnol and GHB, are more likely to be detected in urine than in blood.
If you can, write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances of the assault, including a description of the assailant.
For more information go to Lancashire Safe Centre
Rape or sexual assault can happen to anyone of any gender, age or background. The perpetrator is often someone you know such as a relative or partner, but it can also be a stranger or an acquaintance. It is important for you to remember that there is no such thing as an uncontrollable sexual urge: you are NOT responsible for someone else’s actions. You may have had a drink with your perpetrator before being attacked; drugs and alcohol are never the cause of rape or sexual assault. It is the perpetrator who chose to commit the crime not the drugs or the alcohol you may both have had before the attack.
What might your reactions be?
There are many reactions a person might experience during the attack:
- Some people might scream or cry out whilst others will survive by keeping silent or be too shocked and numb or too frightened to say anything at all. However you responded, that was your way of surviving a frightening and shocking experience.
Following the attack, you might feel numb or experience some of the common reactions listed below:-
- Scared, anxious, fearful to go out.
- Unable to sleep, nightmares and flashbacks.
- Feeling lonely and isolated and sad.
- Feeling dirty, ashamed, and embarrassed about what has happened.
- Feeling confused and angry about why this has happened to you.
- Feeling it was your fault: that somehow you must have been to blame
- Difficulty in trusting people and having intimate relationships.
- Feeling suicidal.
Whatever you are experiencing, it is important that you understand that your thoughts, feelings and behaviours are the result of what you’ve been through. Talking to someone you trust to support you can be the first important step to taking back control over your own life. You might talk to a friend, family member or you can talk to a trained and experienced volunteer in confidence by calling The Survivors Trust Helpline 08088 010818
The Survivors Trust have a confidential helpline for people affected by rape and sexual assault to access emotional support, information and signposting to appropriate services.
It doesn’t matter what has happened, They will provide support in whatever way they can.
Your call will be answered by volunteers who have received specialist training and can support you to find information, to get in touch with services or to simply listen.
You can call the helpline on 08088 01081
What to do if you want support in relation to a non-recent rape or sexual assault
Trust House Lancashire offer a range of services for children, young people and adults that have experienced abuse no matter when that abuse took place. Many people come forward for support many years after it has occurred. It’s never too late to get help, support and advice.
Get in Touch
You can call our office telephone number on 01772 825288 or email us at [email protected] We have a confidential helpline for people affected by rape and sexual assault to access support, information and signposting to appropriate services.
It doesn’t matter what has happened, we’re here to provide support in whatever way we can.
Specialist Counselling or Therapy
We offer specialist one to one counselling services for people affected by rape, childhood sexual abuse and all forms of sexual violence. Our counselling is delivered by qualified counsellors or trainees in their final year of training. All our counsellors are BACP registered and have undergone an extensive training programme for working with sexual violence.
Independent Sexual Violence Advisors
Our Independent Sexual Violence Advisors can support you whether or not you decide to report your rape or abuse to the police. They can provide you with information in order to help you make an informed decision on whether to report. If you do decide to report they will walk with you each step of the way as your advocate and advisor, and provide you with practical and emotional support including helping you to understand and engage in the criminal justice process. If you decide not to report then they will help you through any difficulties you are experiencing as a result of your rape or abuse.
Parent Peer Support Group
We run fortnightly Peer Support Groups for parents and carers of children and young people who have been affected by rape or sexual abuse, whether recently or in the past.
The effects of childhood sexual abuse ripple out into family life and often lead to other difficulties. The group seeks to provide a safe space from which parents and carers can support each other and share their experiences to try and bring about more positive outcomes. If you’d like to get involved with the Parent Peer Support Group please email Catherine at [email protected] or telephone 01772 825288.
Our support email offers information and advice on accessing services for people affected by rape and sexual abuse either recently or in the past.
Email us at [email protected]