Minnesota National Guard
Steps to Recovery
You may want to consider making choices about the following:

Everyday routines
– Some routines provide structure in a difficult time. Others find it more helpful to cut back on some activities and take things a little slower for a while.

Reporting option – As mentioned previously, the service member has two options regarding reporting. In order to preserve the right to choose what kind of a report is made, the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for your installation must be contacted.

Medical care
– A health care provider can treat medical conditions that may have resulted from the assault. It is also important to be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Women may want to be tested for pregnancy. In addition, a sexual assault forensic examination can provide important evidence that can be used if charges are brought against the attacker. This kind of exam may not always be necessary, but it is an important consideration if you intend to portico-pate in the investigation and court proceedings.

Mental health care - Research studies show that people usually have better and quicker recoveries when they seek counseling. Most treat-mints are solution focused and can speed improvement in coping. Counseling may reduce the risk of developing PTSD or another health condition after an assault. Support groups are also an option.

Legal action - Some people have a strong desire to avoid the loss of privacy involved with facing an attacker in court. Others find that participating in the investigation and subsequent legal action helps them recover because prosecution may keep the perpetrator from hurting others. The Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and/or Victim Ad-vacate can assist in this process by providing guidance and resources.

"I may not be there yet, but I'm closer
than I was yesterday."

-Author Unknown

5 Steps to Recovery

Every person reacts differently to sexual assault.  There are five stages of recovery, which most victims will experience to some degree.  It is not unusual for different people to experience the stages in different orders or even to repeat stages several times. They are:

1. INITIAL SHOCK - Shock following an assault can take on many forms.  Victims may experience emotional as well as physical shock, which in turn could be expressed as very controlled, and/or withdrawn, or highly expressive, including crying, screaming or shaking. Victims may or may not feel comfortable communicating these feelings to others.

2. DENIAL -  This stage may find victims attempting to go on a normal routine and wanting to forget about the assault.  This denial or rationalization of what happened is an attempt to deal with inner turmoil.

3. REACTIVATION -  This stage involves a re-experiencing of the feelings from Stage 1, usually brought on by the triggering of memories of the assault.  Feelings of depression, anxiety and shame increase.  Other symptoms can include nightmares, flashbacks, and a sense of vulnerability, mistrust and physical complaints.

4. ANGER -  Victims may experience feelings of anger—often towards themselves, friends, significant others, society, the legal system, all men/women, etc.  Sometimes through counseling this anger can be dispelled.

5. INTEGRATION (Closure) - As victims integrate the thoughts and feelings stemming from the assault into their life experience victims will begin to feel “back on track”. As a result of support, education and the passage of time, victims may feel strengthened. Sexual Assault is a crime that has a zero tolerance in the military.  It is important to know what to do if you or someone you know is assaulted.  No victim will be left alone or behind, we are here to help.

Quick Escape
Online Safety

Additional Recommendations

Review your safety net-work. Walk or ride in the company of others. Arrange to have telephone check-ins with designated people so that they know you got home safely. Ask a trusted friend or relative to stay with you for awhile, or stay with one of them if that makes you feel safer. Take a self-defense class. The skills taught in self-defense classes can help you feel more in control. The workouts in these classes are also good for relieving stress Connect with trusted friends or family members who can provide support. Consider meditation or yoga to help reduce stress. You might also set aside extra time for hobbies or activities. This can distract you from unpleasant thoughts and help to ease any stress you feel. Commanders play a critical role in the system. Their attitude and support may influence a guard member’s decision to seek assistance. In addition, when they are not supportive, personnel under their command may have less information about sexual assault and prevention and response and less access to remedies.