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Ten Points To Keep In Mind
- The harassment or assault was NOT your fault. Even if the person who assaulted you was someone you know, you are IN NO WAY RESPONSIBLE! HE OR SHE COMMITTED A CRIME.
- Get yourself medical attention. You need and deserve it. You have been hurt - you may possibly have sexually transmitted infections - and you won't know unless you go to a clinic or a doctor. You can ask someone who understands to go with you.
- You are not going crazy; almost any reaction is normal. There are no rights or wrongs about the way you reacted. You may experience recurring thoughts, dreams or flashbacks. Talk with someone who knows - a therapist, rape counselor or understanding friend. Talk about what you're going through when YOU are ready. It will help.
- Surround yourself with supportive people, who understand and support you. We all need people. Social contact may help you feel less isolated and more connected. Supportive people may include friends, family, teachers, religious leaders, counselors or advocates. There may be some people who do not understand or who are not able to give you the support you deserve. Keep connected with those who can offer you support.
- Recognize that your assault may also affect those around you. Their reactions may vary. Encourage others to seek the support they need to deal with their own feeling and reactions. You do not, however, have to take care of them.
- Be aware of numbing the pain with overuse of drugs or alcohol. Explore other coping techniques. Find ways that help you heal from the trauma you have experienced.
- You have every right to cry, scream and be as upset as you feel. Having many different feelings- anger, fear, whatever - is a normal reaction to what happened to you. You may be able to forget about it for a while, but don't be surprised if you get upset when something reminds you of the assault.
- Rape is not sex. Comparing rape to sex is like comparing a slap in the face to a kiss. Being raped doesn't mean you will never have a normal sex life. It doesn't mean that you can't enjoy having sex when YOU decide that you're ready.
- Healing and recovery take time. Patience and understanding are important. Trying to act like being harassed or assaulted is no big deal will not minimize what you are feeling. Take very good care of yourself and seek the help that YOU need when YOU are ready.
- The rape is over. You have survived, and you WILL survive.