The right thing to do in this situation is whatever feels right to you. If you want to talk about your options with someone who will listen without judging you or telling you what to do, you can get in touch with OSARCC.
It is entirely up to you whether you report any abuse to the police. You can report now, later, or not at all, and there is no ‘correct’ way to feel about it, or a ‘right’ thing to do – what is important is that you do what feels right for you. There is more information about what might happen on our page about reporting. It can help explain your options, and if you want to phone or email someone about it, we here at OSARCC will be happy to talk to you, although we can’t say exactly what will happen in each case.
It’s also possible to go to a place called a Sexual Assault Referral Centre – you can refer yourself here to have evidence collected. There’s no obligation to pass the details on to the police, but it means the evidence is there if you do later decide that you want to make a report. SARCs can also offer you emergency medical care and counselling.
If you are physically injured, a GP or an Accident & Emergency (A&E) department in a hospital can help you without you needing to tell them any details of what has happened to you.
There is more information about this on the health and pregnancy page.
Although it can be difficult to think about immediately, if you have been raped or sexually assaulted you may also have contracted a sexually transmitted infection (STI). You can be tested at your local family planning or sexual health/GUM clinic without having to give any details about what has happened to you, or even your real name. Many GUM clinics, including the Oxfordshire service, are confidential, which means they won’t share information about your visit with anyone, including your GP. As some STIs are symptomless, it is important to think about getting tested.
There is more information about Oxfordshire’s sexual health clinics this on the health and pregnancy page.
If you catch an STI as a result of your experience, it is because the person who raped or assaulted you has one. Contracting an STI can happen to anyone, and it has nothing to do with whether you’ve had sex before, or how many times, or with how many people. It is nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about and many STIs can be easily treated. You can find more information about STIs on the NHS choices website: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Sexually-transmitted-infections.
Depending on what has happened to you, you may be at risk of becoming pregnant. If you are concerned about this then emergency contraception is available from your GP, family planning or sexual health clinic, or from a pharmacy (you will normally have to pay if you choose this option).
There is more information about this issue on the health and pregnancy page.