What to do after a sexual attack

Sexual assault can be emotionally and physically traumatizing. However, it is crucial to know what to do in the moments following a sexual attack.

People who have survived a sexual attack, including rape, sexual abuse, or sexual assault may have be traumatized after the incident. Violent sexual attacks affect victims' lives at school, at work, and at home. Unfortunately, sexual attacks are common in Pennsylvania and across the United States. In fact, one in every five women in America is sexually victimized during their lifetime.

Everyone handles stress and tragic situations differently, but there are essential steps survivors of an attack should take in order to help ensure justice is served when pressing charges against their attacker or pursuing a lawsuit in civil court.

Collecting physical evidence

The moments after a physical assault are crucial. Victims of sexual crimes are often in physical and emotional shock after an assault occurs. If at all possible, however, victims should be seen by a physician who has received training on assessing victims of sexual assault. This helps to ensure that the physical evidence of the crime can be collected before it's destroyed.

Once attack victims take a shower, comb their hair, or brush their teeth, much of the physical evidence is washed away. It is critical for a sexual crime victim to stay in the clothes they were wearing during the incident and avoid washing themselves, as law enforcement and medical personnel may be able to collect evidence from them, including hair, saliva, fibers and semen.

Medical assessment

Not only do medical professionals collect vital evidence that can help to identify the attacker, they can also assess the victim to see if there are any other injuries. Medical staff often check victims for sexually transmitted diseases, bruising and other signs of force. Sexual assaults are crimes of violence, and in severe cases, the survivor may suffer from broken bones, internal bleeding, traumatic brain injury, lacerations or other serious injuries. Medical professionals can also help sexual crime victims contact the proper authorities to report the incident.

Obtaining legal assistance

Andreozzi & Associates, P.C. is a litigation boutique that specializes in representing victims of sexual, violent, and financial crimes in civil lawsuits. Our firm is best known for its work on behalf of sexual abuse victims, including representing 11 of Jerry Sandusky's victims. We are also representing the families of murdered love ones in several cases. If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of a crime and are interested in exploring a potential civil lawsuit, please contact me immediately at nate@victimscivilattorneys.com.

Keywords: sexual assault, victim, attack