Help for survivors of sexual violence

For survivors of sexual violence: How to find help

Sexual violence can happen to anyone, regardless of their gender, age, location, education, or other factors. If you’re a survivor looking for information, or wanting to provide information to a survivor, this list could help.
Article 19 June 2020

If you have experienced sexual violence, know that you are not to blame, you are not alone, and you can access help.

Sexual violence is any act of a sexual nature that is done against your will, whether that is forcefully, with the threat of force or through intimidation/coercion. This can include:

  • Rape including marital rape
  • Sexual assault and abuse
  • Sexual harassment
  • Forced nudity
  • Forced prostitution
  • Sexual slavery
  • Forced witnessing or forced perpetration
  • Forced sterilization or forced contraception
  • Forced abortion
  • Forced anal examination

Anyone may experience these harmful acts, no matter their gender, age or other factors. Even if the person or people who did this to you are your family, spouse or someone you trusted, it is not your fault.

There are helpful resources and services that could assist you. You are not alone. Although the ICRC may not offer these services in your local community, here is some information on these services and where to get help from other local agencies in your area:

Health support

  • Important health care is given in the first 72 hours after a rape incident. Yet, even if you do not receive support before this time, a medical professional can still provide you with health care related to your needs
  • You may find this support in your local hospital or health clinic

Mental health and psychosocial support

  • You may find this support in your local mental health facilities, women's support service, domestic violence services, other community groups, victim support hotlines or chat centers

If you are in immediate danger where you are currently staying, then safe housing or someone who can help you plan for your safety in your current situation might be available to you

  • Domestic violence centres, social welfare offices, and community centres may operate a safe houses in your area or have specialized Safety Planning services

Financial support to access services you might need or if your income has been cut off due to sexual violence

  • There are ways to report an incident, either with your local authorities or various organizations. It is your choice if you choose to report and it is okay if you choose not to.

Legal aid

  • Advice about your rights, how to take legal action and how to report the violence to the police if you would like
  • Support to report or go to court

Other advice

  • Someone who you can speak to confidentially and who will support you through these different steps

You may not want or need any of these services at this time, and that is okay. You can see what is available in your area, take your time to think, and act when, and if, it is right for you. You know best your own needs, and what will keep you safe.

Finally, remember to delete your search history for this page, and other websites you may visit. This might help to keep you safe if you are experiencing violence in the home, or are having your behavior monitored.