Sexual Assault Survivor FAQs

Many sexual assault survivors harbor unpleasant feelings that affect the way they feel about themselves and the world around them. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can help you reclaim happiness and live life on your terms. 

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Questions and Answers About Healing Services for Sexual Assault Survivors

Getting answers to common questions is the often the first step in many survivors’ healing journeys. We hope this information makes it easier for you to come get help. Find out more about our healing services.

Common questions include:

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault includes any form of physical contact or sexually oriented behavior that occurs without permission (consent) from the recipient.

Sexual assault may also include acts of violence in which sex is used as a weapon. For example, rape occurs when a person is forced to participate in unwanted sexual activity.

How do I know if I was sexually assaulted?

Many survivors have clear memories of the incident, while others remember only a few details. Some people experience strong reactions of fear, nausea, panic or despair when exposed to circumstances that remind them of the event (triggers). Triggers may include sounds, tastes, smells, actions and facial expressions.

If you have been sexually assaulted – even if you remember only small details – you deserve the opportunity to heal. Our services, which include counseling and forensic nurse exams, can help you find happiness and peace of mind. Find out more: Get help now.

If sexual assault happened a long time ago, why should I get help now?

Without help, the memories and emotions tied to sexual assault can last a lifetime. Many survivors experience shame and low self-esteem, both of which get in the way of a normal, productive life. Some carry an emotional burden that leads to health consequences, like eating problems and high blood pressure.

Aurora Health Care’s team, which includes counselors, forensic nurse experts and advocates, can help move past lingering problems that may be holding you back from a normal, happy life. Learn more: Why get help?

What are the benefits of seeing a forensic nurse?

A forensic nurse has special training in collecting evidence that can be used in court, should you wish to pursue your legal options. At Aurora, our forensic nurses have a deep understanding of survivors’ needs. We combine specialized nursing with a compassionate touch to help you start healing. Read more about forensic nursing.

I’m struggling with emotions from an assault that happened years ago. How can I get on with my life?

The shock of sexual assault is similar to any wound, and receiving proper care can help you feel better. Our team can help you address how the incident is affecting your life. We also offer support and counseling to help you move forward in a positive way. Find out more about counseling and support groups.

Do I have to file a police report to get help?

The decision of whether to file a police report is yours. We respect your decisions and stand ready to help you even if all you need is someone to talk to. In fact, no one needs to know you are coming to us for help. We will not share the information you provide unless you request us to do so, or we are required by law.

I don’t know what to do next. Is there someone who can explain my options to me?

At Aurora, we are by your side throughout the healing journey. One of our advocates is often available from the moment you first contact us. Advocates are trained experts in helping survivors navigate treatment options. We help you make informed choices and lend a caring ear when you need it. Learn more about survivor advocacy.


Maintaining Your Privacy: Clear Your Browser History

You have a right to privacy, which means that no one needs to know about your past or that you are receiving help to move forward. If you have concerns that someone may see that you’ve been to our website, clearing your browser history can help you maintain your privacy.

Get Involved

Make a difference in the lives of the survivors we care for. Contact us for Volunteer Opportunities.

Come See Us

Get help at a healing center or forensic nursing location – you do not need an appointment. 

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Most of our services are available at no cost, thanks to generous donors.