Why Should I Report Sexual Assault?

 How much do you know about reporting sexual assault? Take the survey to find out!

Those affected by sexual assault often feel reluctant to report it. Some may fear their assailant will find out or that nothing will be done even if they do come forward. Others may feel guilty about their own involvement preceding the incident or may want to protect their assailant from the consequences of their crime.

No one is ever at fault for being sexually assaulted. The value that each individual has as a human being means that they deserve to receive help and justice for the terrible thing that has been done to them, regardless of the surrounding circumstances.

We respect the right of each individual to make the decision for him or herself, but here are just a few of the most important things to keep in mind when considering reporting sexual assault:

  • Victims of a sexual assault often need prompt medical attention. They may have suffered internal injuries, have become pregnant, or come in contact with sexually transmitted diseases that are not immediately apparent but may lead to serious health issues. 
  • Reporting is a way for the victim to begin the process of seeking justice and to hold their assailant accountable for their actions. Seeing justice served  can have a positive impact on his or her recovery and can also reduce the likelihood that their assailant will hurt anyone else.
  • Victims do not commit to prosecution when they report and are in no way obligated to press charges against their assailant. However, even if criminal charges are not filed, reporting a sexual assault provides law enforcement with valuable information that can be used to solve other cases, prevent future incidents, enact or modify rape laws, and develop prevention strategies.

Reporting a sexual assault is ultimately a decision each individual must make for themselves. Never forget that you don’t have to face this decision alone. Confiding in a specialist, close family member, or friend may help ease your recovery process.

Resources for reporting and recovery can be found on our Resources page.

*A sexual assault victim is entitled to a free sexual assault medical forensic examination regardless of whether or not they report the assault to law enforcement. For more information see here and here.