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In today’s day and age, we’re surrounded by a flurry of protests, news stories, social media posts and much more that amplify what it means to report sexual assault. We’re given statistics that seem like reporting is scarce amongst a community of survivors, which clouds our outlook on what roadblocks truly stand in our way. According to RAINN, about 344 out of every 1,000 cases are actually reported to police. We face an issue. If we don’t know how to navigate certain roadblocks when it comes to reporting, we may be left unsure in our process of healing. Reporting is a huge step for a survivor and you shouldn’t have to feel hesitant in the process of getting justice and gaining some closure for yourself.

One of the roadblocks you may find yourself skeptical about is the social stigma or retaliation that you think may be put against you. Sexual assault is becoming a more talked about issue in our society thanks to social media. People today are becoming better about acknowledging that there is a problem. We need to keep holding ourselves accountable to be readily available not just for ourselves, but those around us. This can go hand in hand with a compassion stance. Don’t let someone wait around expecting the problem to be fixed for them. Engage and help yourself and those around you make that step if they show they want to. In turn, if you’re a survivor, don’t be afraid to talk to someone. Those close to you want the absolute best for your state of mind and talking about you situation may help in most cases.

The technical process is also another off-putting roadblock in the journey of reporting. People may be unsure of what authority they actually need to go to in order to start the process, especially in cases on college campuses. Who do you talk to? What information do you need readily available? It is intimidating to tell true authority of your situation, but at the end of the day we need to remember that they are there to help. A lot of survivors get the impression that the police won’t take them seriously after seeing results from publicly broadcasted cases. This isn’t the case. Counseling services and police are there to aid you in the process of healing and we should never be afraid to take the step to open up to them. Find your local or campus resources put in place for these types of cases. Counseling services can generally point you in the right direction and help you start the process of reporting. Use these resources to their fullest potential.

At the end of the day, the act of reporting our assault is ultimately up to you. You aren’t required to and it’s a very personal decision to take that step. When we decide to take that jump, we need to remember that our wellbeing is the first concern at hand and we shouldn’t be ashamed of our situation. Authorities have been trained for these situations and are there to help us at the end of the day. If you find yourself in a place where you need immediate help, don’t be afraid to contact local authorities or text VOICE to 741741 to be connected with a crisis counselor. Reporting is a huge deal and don’t forget that there are people out there to help.

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