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Sexual assault support

2-minute read

Being raped or sexually assaulted is an extremely distressing experience. Everyone reacts differently, and your feelings tend to change over time, or even day-to-day.

It is normal to go through a range of emotions including:

  • shock and denial
  • fear
  • not being able to talk about the assault
  • worries about being judged
  • anxiety
  • not being able to relax
  • depression
  • feeling guilty
  • low self-esteem
  • feeling isolated
  • having nightmares and flashbacks
  • mood swings
  • loss of confidence and trust in others

What's important to remember is that if you've been the victim of a sexual assault or rape, it was not your fault.

You may feel that you need some help getting over what has happened, even if it is just someone to talk to.

A close friend or family member may be the best person to confide in, or you may prefer to talk to someone you don't know, such as a counsellor or a support group. Your doctor’s surgery should be able to give you the contact numbers for support groups in your area.

If you are experiencing anxiety or symptoms of depression you should see your doctor who can offer you support and advice. They can refer you to a counsellor, and may also provide any treatment you need.

Remember, you can seek help either directly after the assault, or in the following days, months or years. There is no time limit. Trust your instincts. It is not OK for someone to make you have sex against your will.

You can call the confidential 24-hour 1800 RESPECT line for more advice on 1800 737 732.

Find out more about sexual assault and abuse helplines.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your sexual assault support, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2019

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