What do I do if I've been sexually assaulted?
Get to a Safe Place
Seek Medical Care
A Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) will be performed by a specially trained nurse at the ER. The nurse will gather evidence from the victim's clothing and body. The exam is not required to file a police report. Patients will not be expected to pay for the evidence collection but may be billed for other treatment.
Report the Assault/Rape
It can be difficult after an assault to process through things, you may be unsure what you should or shouldn't do...a crisis advocate can help you through this process. You can contact an advocate through one of the links below or visit our resource pages.
If you are seeking medical attention and want to file a report there are a number of steps you should take to preserve evidence:
Do not shower or use the restroom until you get to the hospital
Place the clothes you were wearing in a trash bag and bring them with you to the hospital
Do not brush your teeth, eat, drink or smoke before your exam
Go to your local ER
Even if you are unsure about reporting the assault, it is better to have a SAFE exam done directly after the incident to gather evidence. You can always decide later, if you wish to report the assault.
You can receive a SAFE exam even if you don't
report the incident to the police.
You decide whether or not you want to report the assault.
If you are in immediate danger....call 911
Otherwise, call your local police department or campus security. Many departments have specially trained officers that interact with sexual violence victims. There may also be a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) which consists of medical staff, law enforcement and local sexual violence resource staff. These teams provide an organized approach to gathering evidence, conducting interviews, and a continuum of communication.
Remember this process might take awhile. But its a stepping stone into the right direction.
How do I go about reporting the assault?
Sexual Violence can affect an individual emotionally, physically, socially, and psychologically.
A victim may experience flashbacks or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And have feelings of depression, guilt, anxiety, uncontrolled fear, etc. Watch for signs of self-harm, substance abuse, or eating disorders. Grieving is a normal part of healing but loved ones should watch for signs that the victim is unable to move on from grief.
Healing looks different for everyone but may include being intentional about self-care, going to counseling, choosing a few close friends to check up on you, or joining a support group.
A victim's loved ones may also need support and healing. Do not ignore these needs. Seek healing for yourself as well.
Hope Haven. (2017). What is sexual violence? Retrieved from https://www.hopehavenofcasscounty.org/what-is-sv
The Mama Bear Effect. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.themamabeareffect.org/free-downloads.html
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (2017). Effects of sexual violence. Retrieved from https://www.rainn.org/effects-sexual-violence
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (2017). Help someone you care about. Retrieved from https://rainn.org/articles/help-someone-you-care-about
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (2017). Reporting to law enforcement. Retrieved from https://www.rainn.org/articles/reporting-law-enforcement
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (2017). State law database. Retrieved from https://apps.rainn.org/policy/