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College Students: Sexual Assault Recovery

How Does Sexual Assault Affect College Students?

Sexual assault can have serious negative effects, both mental and physical on the survivor. These can include loss of appetite, depression, anxiety, PTSD effects, suicidal thoughts, transmission of STDs, and various other traumatic symptoms or problems.


What do I do after a sexual assault?

According to Herman Law, if you or someone you know was the victim of sexual assault on campus, the most vital thing you can do is find a safe space where you feel comfortable to discuss your experience. It’s equally important not to blame yourself or think about all the things you could have done differently. Sexual assault is never your fault, no matter where you were or what you were doing at the time. Talk with someone about your experience and seek help, whether via counseling, legal help, medical help, or a friend’s help with reporting the assault. If you choose to do so, calling the police to create a report and having a rape kit done (if you report soon after the incident) to aid in your allegations can ensure that the perpetrator is held responsible for the harm they willingly inflicted on you. 

Recovering from a sexual assault or abuse is a process, and that process looks different for everyone. It may take weeks, months, or years to heal.  It's important not to place a timeframe on your recovery. Recover in the timeframe that best works for you and don't guilt yourself for taking more time than you believe you should have taken. It was a traumatic event and it's necessary to take your time to heal.

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Why is self care important?
Self care is about taking steps to feel healthy and comfortable. Whether it happened recently or years ago, self care can help you cope with the short-term and long-term effects of a trauma like sexual assault. Self care is necessary, especially after a traumatic event. After a trauma, it’s important to keep your body healthy and strong. You may be healing from injuries or feeling emotionally drained and it's important to take care of your mental health and physical health during this time.

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