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Sexual assault

Sexuella övergrepp

Sexual assault is when a person is forced or coerced into sexual acts. You can get help if you have been sexually assaulted. It is also a crime.

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It is never your fault if you are sexually assaulted. You have the right to help and support if you have been sexually assaulted.

Examples of sexual assault:

  • Touching another person’s body in a sexual way when that person does not want you to.
  • Forcing a person to have sexual intercourse or do other sexual acts.
  • Threatening a person so that they feel forced to have sex.
  • Forcing a person to watch while someone does a sexual act.
  • Buying or trading for sex, for example, money or things.

It is never your fault

It is never your fault if someone assaults you. No one has the right to do anything sexual with you if you do not want to.

  • It does not matter whether you know the person or not.
  • It does not matter if you are in love with the person.
  • It does not matter if you are married to the person.
  • It does not matter what you look like or how you dress.
  • It does not matter if you originally said yes. You always have the right to change your mind and say no!

Some people scream and fight when they are assaulted. It is also common to be unable or not dare to scream or struggle. Afterwards you might think that you should have protested more. But it is regarded as assault if it takes place against your will even if you did not dare to scream or struggle.

Many people feel bad after an assault

It is common to feel bad after an assault. Different people react in different ways. If you have been assaulted, you might have felt some of the following:

  • You are sad, feel stressed and worried.
  • You find it hard to sleep.
  • You have nightmares.
  • You often think about the assault.
  • You do things to yourself that make you feel bad.
  • You have headaches or physical pain.
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It is usually good to talk about it

The best way to feel better is usually to tell someone about what happened. Many people think that it feels good to talk to a friend or a family member at first. Some people prefer to talk to someone else.

Sometimes it takes a long time before you dare to talk about it. It is common that the person who assaulted someone and the person they assaulted know each other. In such cases, it can be extra difficult to talk about it. But what happened was wrong. And it is never too late to tell someone about it.

You have the right to help

You have the right to help if you have been sexually assaulted. This applies to everyone, regardless of who they are or where the assault took place. There are many places where you can find help.

You can begin by telling the school counsellor or someone at a Youth Guidance Centre (ungdomsmottagning). They are used to talking to people who have experienced the same thing as you. They have an obligation to maintain confidentiality and can help you find the right kind of help.

At Victim Support Sweden (Brottsofferjouren) you can get help from someone who speaks your language.

Do not give up if it does not feel good the first time you talk. Try again by talking to someone else.

Medical examination

It is a good idea to have a doctor examine you after a sexual assault. You can do this at an emergency room or a health clinic. If you are a girl, you can also be examined at a gynaecology clinic.

You will find out if you have any injuries or have been infected with a disease. As a girl, you can also find out if you are pregnant. In many places, you can talk to a counsellor.

If you are going to file a police report, it is a good idea to see a doctor for an examination as soon as possible after the assault.

Filing a police report

It is a good idea to file a police report. Then, whoever it was that assaulted you can be prosecuted in a court of law. You might have the right to receive damages, even if the person who committed the crime is not found guilty. Damages are a form of financial compensation.

It is best to file a police report as soon as possible. But you can still report a crime even if a long time has passed.

You can get help if you do not want to be alone when you file a police report. For example, someone who works at a Youth Guidance Centre (ungdomsmottagning), at school or at a health clinic (vårdcentral) can help you.

If you are afraid of the person who assaulted you

It is a good idea to file a police report if you are afraid of the person who assaulted you. In such cases, the person who assaulted you can be subject to a restraining order. Then the person will not be allowed to visit or contact you in other ways.

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