Contact Us for a Free Consultation 818-704-5151


What to do immediately after a sexual assault in Los Angeles?

Posted by I.Donald Weissman | Jun 30, 2021 | 0 Comments

A taboo of silence

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, it's hard to know what to do next. Whether the incident happened hours ago, days previously, or whether it has been years, you may be feeling any combination of complex emotions. You may need medical care, you could be too upset to talk with someone, or you may want legal counsel. It is understandably difficult to be sure of the type of support you or a loved one may need after such a traumatic experience.

What to do immediately after a sexual assault in Los Angeles?

The first thing you must do after a sexual assault is find safety. Whether it is for you or for a loved one, you must get to a place where you feel immediate stability. Healing and recovery take time. Legal recourse is available but in order to protect yourself from future incidents, you must first find a safe environment.

Everyone has their own levels of comfort and experiencing the shock and pain of a sexual assault can upend someone's life. While everyone may deal with trauma differently, some of the traditional steps that help survivors heal include:

  1. Ensure your safety
  2. Reach out for support
  3. Consider medical options
  4. Process the experience
  5. Consider legal options
  6. Reconnect to self and life

Should I report sexual assault?


Sexual assault takes an enormous emotional and physical toll on survivors making it difficult to report. Whether you or a loved one has experienced sexual assault, you are not required to report it at the time and can instead choose to report the assault at a later time. California law gives you 10 years to file an action against someone for sexual assault from the date the incident occurred as an adult or until your 40th birthday if the assault occurred when you were a child.

While you are not obligated to report sexual assault immediately, filing a report or speaking with an attorney close in time to when the assault happened will help preserve any evidence that could be later used in a criminal or civil court.

Sexual assault is traumatic and can leave survivors with physical, emotional, or psychological pain. Every experience is different and the severity of your experience is related to your needs, how you may process the issue, and how you need to recover from the trauma in your specific way.

Immediately after a sexual assault, survivors often experience a myriad of emotions, such as:

  • Shock
  • Derealization
  • Overwhelm

These are some of the mechanisms the body uses to cope with trauma. By establishing a sense of safety and normalcy, the goal is to create a comfortable environment away from major stressors. No matter what may have happened or what may happen, you must always remember that sexual assault is not your fault. You should not and cannot blame yourself for what happened or question what you could have done, or should not have done, differently.

What to do immediately after a sexual assault in Los Angeles?

Finding justice through the system may seem intimidating or confusing but can ultimately help survivors in their recovery. After a sexual assault, many survivors are filled with rage, frustration, or aggravation at the sense of injustice that happened to them. It can also be difficult to even admit what happened as it may force you to relive the incident.

By seeking legal representation from an experienced Los Angeles sexual assault lawyer, you may find peace of mind in knowing the perpetrator did not walk away from justice and cannot commit future incidents. Sexual assault survivors often feel as though their agency and a sense of power has been stolen from them but pursuing a perpetrator in court can help return to you a sense of empowerment.

Common concerns for filing a sexual assault?

You are not legally required or morally obligated to report your sexual assault. The incident may shake you physically and emotionally, steal your confidence, crumble your self-esteem, and upend your sense of safety. Reporting the crime may be crucial in helping ensure the perpetrator cannot attack others in the future and could expose a person as harmful or damaging.

The following concerns for not wanting to report a sexual assault are common but there are also reasons for why it could help you and others to report the incident:

  • You know the perpetrator
  • You may not feel the severity of the assault was worthy of report
  • You are in a relationship with the perpetrator
  • You worry people won't believe you
  • You are concerned about the consequences

Any action taken against your perpetrator of sexual assault is difficult but may help guide the coping process. The consequences for exposing someone as a perpetrator may feel severe but are also contrasted by the repercussions of saying or doing nothing, which can take a high mental toll on survivors.

In reality, most sexual assault survivors know the person who assaulted them. The incident can make survivors feel as though it wasn't severe enough if they walked away unscathed or did not end up hospitalized. Some survivors worry that sexual assault between partners is not considered an assault. These common misconceptions have added to an unfortunate stigma surrounded sexual assault. After a sexual assault, it is common to experience intense feelings of shame, fear, uncertainty, guilt, and avoidance. 

Find your support.

In the end, you are not alone. You can find support. The right sexual assault lawyer can also help find you the support you need. After such a traumatic experience, stepping forward to file a claim or report is difficult. If you need help filing a claim, understanding California sexual harassment law, or simply feel the need to be heard, contact I.Donald Weissman today.

About the Author

I.Donald Weissman

For over 45 years, I.Donald Weissman has pursued justice on his clients' behalf. He appreciates the opportunity to represent you as a guide through the complex framework of the legal system.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact us Today

Weissman Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about personal injury, business litigation, victim of crimes, sexual assault, business law, and malicious prosecution issues.

Free consultations are available and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.