How does a woman heal from rape?

Sexual violence - safety tips for women and girls

If you are being sexually harassed, watch out for the following:

  • Trust your feeling. You alone determine your limits. You alone decide who is allowed to come close to you and who is not.
  • Set clear limits - the earlier, the better.
  • Make it clear with words and gestures: "This far and no further". With this you signal strength and show your counterpart in their place.
  • State clearly what you want and what you don't want. Use simple, clear sentences like "Go away!", "Don't do that!" or "Stop it!"
  • Don't argue with the harasser, you don't have to justify yourself.
  • If you need help from third parties, speak to them directly and firmly and ask them to support you.
  • If you are alone and in distress, give someone a call, tell them loudly and clearly exactly where you are and what situation you are in. Many harassers are already deterred.
  • If you are threatened, call the police on 133.
  • Sometimes it is not possible to react quickly to acts of sexual harassment. That's fine, take the time you need. But don't be ashamed. You didn't do anything wrong.

If you have been sexually harassed in the past:

  • Talk to friends about how you reacted in which situations.
  • Exchange ideas about similar situations and collect your personal counter-strategies. What have you already used successfully?
  • Even if you were unable to react to the situation yourself: direct your anger about it not against yourself, but against the person who has violated your boundaries.
  • If you feel that you cannot cope with the situation on your own, contact a counseling center, such as the 24-hour women's emergency number on 01 71719.

Rape and attempted rape

If you have been raped or someone tried to rape you, it is very important to realize that it is not your fault, it is the perpetrator. He is responsible for what he does.

Injury documentation and forensic evidence

  • Have injuries documented and traces saved as soon as possible. Even if you are not sure whether you want to file a complaint, it is important that evidence and evidence are secured. This means that you or the police will have access to it later if necessary. Call the 24-hour women's emergency number, a counselor can accompany you to the hospital.
  • Visit a gynecological outpatient clinic or a gynecologist you trust. In the main hospitals in Vienna there are specially trained staff who, in addition to the general examination, also ensure traces, for example sperm or hair, and advise you on questions of contraception. The medical findings and evidence are very important in a subsequent court case.
  • Do not shower before the medical examination and trace removal
  • Do not wash clothes that you were wearing at the time of the crime
  • Keep evidence, such as clothing or bed linen, in a dry paper bag and take it with you to the pelvic exam. Under no circumstances should you throw clothes away, even if they are damaged or dirty - they are important pieces of evidence.
  • If you have suffered physical injuries, it is essential that you have this treated and confirmed by a doctor.

Important instructions

  • It is normal for you to have insomnia or anxiety immediately after the rape, and images of the fact keep popping up in your memory. The body and the psyche react to the experience of violence and it takes time for these wounds to heal.
  • Don't keep the incident to yourself. Talking about it helps to process the experience and the pictures more easily and it promotes the healing process. Be sure to contact someone you trust and seek advice and practical support from a women's advice center.
  • In the event of a complaint, you as a woman have the right to be questioned by a woman and to take a person you trust, for example a friend, sister or adviser from the 24-hour women's emergency number, with you for questioning. In Vienna there are specially trained female detectives in every police station. They are responsible for questioning victims of rape or abuse.
  • Find out about the process of a complaint and about your victim rights at women's advice centers and victim protection facilities, for example the 24-hour women's emergency number.

Additional information

Responsible for this page:
City of Vienna | Women's Service Vienna
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