Rape victims, unlike victims of other crimes, are often reluctant to report assaults to the police or other authorities such as the Dean of Students. They often fear that they will be blamed or disbelieved, or they may know the assailant and fear the consequences to him. There are many good reasons to report sexual assaults to the police:
You may need medical attention. You may have internal injuries of which you are unaware, and you should be checked for sexually transmitted diseases and for pregnancy.
Reporting the assault does not obligate you to prosecute. It does give you the option to prosecute if you decide to do so. Reporting keeps your options open.
If you delay in reporting, it may be too late to collect physical evidence, making prosecution extremely difficult or even impossible.
Even if you do not ever prosecute, reporting the crime gives the police facts such as a description of the assailant and the method of committing the crime. This information may be helpful in solving other cases. It also insures more accurate statistics on the incidence of rape which is an important tool in enacting rape laws and developing prevention strategies.
You may be eligible for crime victims compensation which covers medical and psychological care if you have no insurance. To qualify, you must file a police report.
Rapists (even acquaintance rapists) are often repeat offenders. Reporting may help authorities spot a pattern in a rapist’s behavior.
Reporting a sexual assault is an active way of regaining control and fighting back. It is a healthy way to channel anger and to stand up for your rights.