Should I report rape?

LonelyIt’s an awful shame that’s even a question. We don’t question if we should report a burglary, a car crash, or any other type of assault. But unfortunately, rape falls into its own unique category. A survivor of a sexual assault needs to consider many factors when it comes to reporting.

Physical Safety

For many survivors, it is simply not safe to report a rape.

Timeliness of the Crime

We all know the best time to report a rape is immediately after it happened. However, this doesn’t always bring about a prosecution. I reported being raped in 2017 literally minutes after it happened. I was driving away from the crime scene and at the end of the block looking to my left was the bright white sign for the local hospital. I took the turn, walked myself in, and spoke with a very caring and compassionate nurse who ushered me into a private room to wait for the police to arrive. 

The officers did their job, seized the gun and other evidence at the scene of the crime, and documented everything appropriate. Unfortunately, the State’s Attorney in that county chose not to prosecute the perpetrator. Survivors of rape rarely obtain justice through the court system because someone along the way drops the ball – the police, forensic examiners, prosecutors, judges, and juries. 

Still, that does not mean the crime that has been committed against you is not worth reporting because there is another important factor to consider. 

Emotional Wellbeing

Reporting a rape can be an empowering experience. The process of growing from a “victim” into a “survivor” is a painful one that takes time, patience, and much love and support from friends, family, and a community. Most major cities in the United States have a crisis center for victims of rape and domestic violence. If you have been victimized or know of someone who has, I strongly suggest you reach out to the center in your community. Some “victims” are uncomfortable making the call themselves and you can show real support by making the call for them or along with them as you sit beside them. The National Hotline should be able to refer you to services in your area.

There are many paths to healing and reporting an assault to law enforcement is far from the only one to take. It will take time, but there are things that ARE in your power to engage with to help move the process along. There is individual therapy, support groups, and of course nothing compares to the caring kindness of close family and friends. 

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I’ll end by saying that if you found this post because you’re asking yourself this very question – I want you to know that I may not know you, but I do believe you and I hope this has helped you even if only in some small way. You deserve much love and support during this difficult time and I hope you’re able to get it. 

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The following are some links that may be relevant to the consideration of whether or not to report the crime of a sexual assault against either yourself or someone else. Please educate yourself because if you know at least six women – you likely know at least one person who is a survivor. 

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1 Comment

  1. Why report rape? | Just One Take

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