What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault includes many different scenarios, including touches and attempted touches of a sexual nature. Inappropriate touching, even if there is no skin-to-skin contact or touching of the genitals, can still be considered sexual assault. Sexual assault includes rape, attempted rape, sodomy, incest, indecent exposure, lewd conduct, child molestation and other unwanted sexual touches or even just the threat of sexual touches. Victims of sexual assault can be old or young, male or female, physically weak or physically fit. Aggressors can be complete strangers, but it’s not uncommon for the assaulter to be a family member, friend or coworker of the victim.
Some psychological experts believe that sexual assault is often the channeling of aggression through past sexual abuse and rarely about lust, desire or sexual arousal. Aggression can shape an aggressor’s need to dominate, abuse, control, humiliate or shame a victim. Sexual assault is a terrifying and scarring form of personal injury that leaves not only physical injuries, but also traumatizing emotional and psychological damage. Victims who are injured should consider pursuing civil remedies in addition to criminal prosecution. A personal injury attorney can review your case in a confidential and private setting and help you evaluate your best legal options.
What to Do After Sexual Assault
If you are the victim of a sexual assault, go to a safe place (such as a friend, trusted neighbor, hospital or police station) and call 911. If you cannot leave your house or apartment, lock all doors and windows and call 911. Depending on the type of assault you suffered, you may be asked to go to the emergency room for treatment. Whether you think you’re hurt or not, you may be in shock, so being evaluated by a medical professional is a safe thing to do under any circumstances.
Take a friend, family member or other trusted person with you to the hospital and police station for support. Be honest and detailed when reporting the assault. Ask about counseling for you, your partner, and your family. If you have children, make sure that they are safely supervised while you’re seeking treatment.
While it might seem like a necessity at the time, do not take a bath or shower, brush your hair, eat or drink anything or use the bathroom. DNA evidence to convict an assailant and to recover in a civil case can easily be lost or destroyed. Evidence might also be on any clothing involved in the attack, so do not throw any of that away or wash it.
Unless the assailant is someone you know, make sure you provide law enforcement with as many physical details as possible about the assailant. For example, what where the attacker’s physical characteristics (e.g. weight, height, hair color, ethnicity, clothes, unusual features, etc.)? Did the attacker appear drunk or high? Were any weapons involved? What was the assailant wearing? Details you provide will not only help law enforcement find and prosecute your attacker, but will help your personal injury lawyer recover medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering from the attacker.