What If I Am Sexually Assaulted?
Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. Don’t blame yourself. You may feel you can’t think straight. You are afraid. You don’t know what to do and your mind is racing with questions. The questions below are important ones to consider in the event of a sexual assault crisis. Every country has different laws and policies about sexual violence and navigating the complicated legal systems and reporting procedures within a foreign country is a difficult undertaking.
Unfortunately, having an American passport won’t grant you special privileges which is why SASHAA advocates are available 24/7 to help you make informed choices and support you during the entire process.
- Are you in a safe place? If you are in a safe place, call or find a safe person to be with you. If you are not safe, call or find a safe person to come and get you, if possible.
- Do you need medical attention? Are emergency contraceptives available? Is a prescription required before acquiring certain medications? What is the potential overall cost for medical services?
- Is it safe to report the sexual assault in the country you are visiting? Is it safe for members of the LGBQT community to report? Is it safe for male victims to report? Are there stigmas present that may cause danger to you or your social network?
- Is it safe to report the assault to the police? Depending on the country you are visiting, it may or may not be safe to report the assault. Every country has different laws and Americans abroad must abide by the laws of the country where the assault was committed. If you are unsure if it’s safe to report the crime, contact the crisis center as soon as possible.
- Are Sexual Assault Advocates available to assist during and/or after the crisis? Are there counseling programs available to survivors of sexual assault? What is the cultural response to sexual assault?
- Do you want to prosecute your perpetrator? Are there laws against various forms of sexual violence? How are crimes of sexual assault or rape defined in the country? Are you able to apply for and receive victim compensation or a protective order?
- Should I report to the American Embassy? There are so many other things to consider, please contact a SASHAA advocate to get the information you need.