Making a police report
Making a police report after a sexual assault can be a very difficult decision for survivors. It can be an especially difficult decision if you know the perpetrator.
When making the initial report, the officer will ask you for a description of the incident. The officer will also ask you about location of the incident, what happened, who was present and other detailed information.
Some questions an officer may ask will probably be difficult for you to answer, especially since it can be very emotional to talk about the assault or you may feel you have already told your story. Keep in mind that the officer’s duty is to be objective and gather as many facts as possible. The officer is not trying to blame you when he/she ask questions about the assault.
It may be embarrassing to tell the officer details of the attack, but it is very important to provide as much information as possible to the police.
An advocate from the law enforcement agency can assist you throughout the investigation process and serve as a liaison between you and the police or courts.
The court process begins when the state takes legal action against the alleged perpetrator. The prosecutor will make the decision to go forward with a case based on the evidence gathered by the police investigator.
The process may take quite a while, and sometimes people wait up to a year before the case is formally charged.
Common feelings after experiencing violence or sexual assault
You may be feeling some, or all, of the emotions below.
Shock and disbelief
Immediately after an assault, many people are in a state of shock. Some will act as if nothing has happened, trying to make life seem normal. Others find themselves in daze or have difficulty focusing.
There may also be periods when a person is preoccupied with thoughts and feelings about the assault. The person may have unwanted memories, flashbacks or nightmares. There may be times of re-experiencing some of the sensations and feelings that happened during the assault.
Difficulty controlling emotions
While some experience an overwhelming amount of emotions immediately after an assault, others find that days, months or even years may pass before feelings surface. Emotions can change rapidly. Sometimes they start crying uncontrollably or laughing nervously.
Self-blame and/or shame
Many survivors are blamed by individuals they tell about the incident. These reactions are fueled by society’s myths about abuse and assault. Survivors may also feel that the rape/abuse/ assault was their fault or that they could have done something to prevent it. These feelings can make it difficult to get help, as a person may feel that others won’t believe them or will judge them. No one deserves to be assaulted, and being assaulted does not make you a bad person.
Difficulty in relationships
Sexual assault and or abuse impacts a person’s ability to trust others. People may feel alone in their experience and that no one can understand. Withdrawing from others or changes in relationships are common. People who have been assaulted may feel irritable or angry with the people in their lives. Sexual intimacy may be difficult and could bring up painful memories or a fear of losing control.
Concern for the assailant
Some survivors express concern about what will happen to the assailant if the attack is reported or prosecuted. Others express a concern that an assailant is sick or ill and needs psychiatric care more than prison. It is human to show concern for others, especially those who are troubled, destructive, and confused. Some of these attitudes may be the result of the survivor’s effort to understand what happened, particularly if there was a previous relationship.
Emotional or psychological effects
Many emotions or changes in feelings may occur over time, including but not limited to:
- Hopelessness or Powerlessness
- Loneliness or Isolation
- Numb, detached or empty
- Impaired memory
- Loss of appetite
- Thoughts of suicide and death
- Substance abuse
- Loss of control
- Feeling that others can tell that they have been sexually assaulted just by looking at them
- Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (CRMC)
– Main: (307) 634-2273
– Emergency Department: (307) 633-7670
– Sex Assault Coordinator: (307) 633-7610
– Behavioral Health: (307) 633-7382
– Victim Helpline: (888) 996-8816
- Cheyenne Laramie County Public Health: (307) 633-4000
- Family Planning: (307) 633-4040
- Peak Wellness: (307) 634-9653
- Human Trafficking Hotline: (888) 373-7888
- Safe House: (307) 634-8655
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233
- Suicide Hotlines: (800) 457-9312, (800) SUICIDE
- Wyoming Office of Victim Services: (307) 777-7200
- US Attorney Victim Program: (307) 772-2124
- Burns Police Department: (307) 547-2252
- Cheyenne Police Department: (307) 637-6519
- Laramie County Sheriff’s Office: (307) 633-4700
- Pine Bluffs Police Department: (307) 245-3777
- FE Warren AFB Response Coordinator: (307) 773-6444