People who have been sexually assaulted are often reluctant to file a complaint, especially since society and the various support services don’t always respond the way they expect or need them to. They are afraid of how their friends and family—and their assailant —will react. They generally feel like they have almost no one to turn to for help and protection. They worry that the legal system will fail them and dread the slow wheels of justice and the long waits for criminal trials. Victims fear the fallout from having to testify in court. Quite often, they are not satisfied with the sentences given to the assailant, which they feel don’t always seem to reflect the severity of the sexual crimes committed.

You don’t have to file a complaint with the police to get help. Keep in mind that you can go at your own pace and respect your personal journey in deciding to press charges. Whether or not you decide to come forward, it’s important that you ask for help from any of the recommended resources.