Sexual assault response

Understanding the options


It is the victim's choice whether or not to report a sexual assault and how to proceed in the process. There are many ways in which a victim can report a sexual assault. At any time during the process, the victim has the right to speak up and stop the process. A victim may choose how much or how little they wish to be involved in the process.  

Common responses to sexual assault/abuse

Victims differ in their responses to sexual assault and abuse. The long-term effects may be influenced by the severity of the assault, the victim's coping skills, and the support the person has following the incident. Nevertheless, a victim of sexual assault may experience:

  • a decrease in self-esteem, including frequent feelings of shame, humiliation, guilt, anger, and powerlessness
  • a shift in the way they perceive their body, which can lead to self-abuse  a difficulty   trusting and being intimate with others a  disinterest in sexual intimacy for some time, or a desire to engage in risky sexual behaviors
  •  flashbacks of the incident fear of being alone or another future attack
  •  nightmares or other sleep disturbances
  • difficulty in concentrating and focusing, which can affect academic and job performance