Ask Ava

Ask Ava, Episode 167: "What if I still have to see the person who sexually assaulted me?"

June 22, 2023 Safe+Sound Somerset Season 1 Episode 167
Ask Ava
Ask Ava, Episode 167: "What if I still have to see the person who sexually assaulted me?"
Show Notes Transcript

Episode 167: "What if I still have to see the person who sexually assaulted me?"

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You’re listening to the Ask Ava Podcast, where we give real answers to real questions from teens and young adults about relationships, consent, dating violence, and more.

My name is Jessica Skultety. I’m an Outreach and Prevention Manager at Safe+Sound Somerset. We are Somerset County, New Jersey’s lead organization for domestic and sexual violence services and prevention, and we have free services for children, teens, and adults who witness or experience violence.

Today’s question is: Dear Ava, What if I still have to see the person who sexually assaulted me?

It is really tough when you have to see someone who’s hurt you. And sexual violence can be personal and hurtful for a long time. We know many people are assaulted by people they know, so you’re definitely not alone in having to see this person again.

Depending who they are, there’s a few things you can do. Whether you choose to report the incident to law enforcement, or tell people or not, you can try to work around seeing this person. Stay with family and friends that you trust – whether it’s at school or at home or at work, whatever that might be. 

If you are forced to be around them, try to be there with another supportive person like a trusted adult or friend. This trusted person doesn’t even have to know the whole story about what happened to you. They can just be there to support you emotionally, to have another person in the room, again, whether or not they know what happened.

We also recommend documenting, or writing down or keeping track of everything that you talk about, all the interactions with this person. Keep it in a safe place. Write down locations, details of what they said or what was done, whatever you can. This might be hard to do, but it can help in case you are going to bring a legal case against this person, and it can also help in your own healing. You might also be able to apply for protective orders, also known as restraining orders, or your legal guardian might be able to do that. So call us or your local sexual violence agency for more info.

If you have to be alone with this person and you don’t have any other options, have a plan for leaving the situation if you need to get out, or you need emotional support, during or after. For example, you can have a phone number or trusted person to call ready to go. You might have a plan for transportation, you might have cash or money in a cash app. If you have a restraining order, you’d have that on you.

This is what we call safety planning, which means figuring out what feels safe for you and having that written down or prepared in advance. You can actually find teen safety planning and safety planning after sexual assault on our website, or call or text us for direct support from our trained helpers.

Remember, you’re not alone, and there are people out there who want to support you.

To speak with an expert about relationship or sexual violence, call or text the Safe+Sound Somerset 24/7 confidential helpline at 866-685-1122 for supportive listening, information, and safety planning. In the United States, you can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673.  

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