Minute Memo: What to Do Immediately After Sexual Assault

STEP ONE: GUARANTEE YOUR SAFETY

If you are in danger or need medical care, call 9-1-1. If you can, get away from the person who assaulted you immediately and get to a safe place as fast as you reasonably can. Do not return to, or engage with, the person who assaulted with you, if possible.

STEP TWO: KEEP ANY EVIDENCE WITH POSSIBLE DNA

As hard as it may be to not wash up, you might wash away important evidence if you do. Do not brush, comb, or clean any part of your body, including changing clothes. Do not touch or change anything at the scene of the assault.

STEP THREE: GO TO THE NEAREST HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM

You will likely need to be examined and treated for injuries. You can be given medicine to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. The National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) can help you find a hospital able to collect evidence of sexual assault. When there, ask for a sexual assault forensic examiner (SAFE).

A doctor or nurse will use a “rape kit” to collect evidence. This might include fibers, hairs, saliva, semen, or clothing left behind by the attacker.¬†If you think you were drugged, talk to the hospital staff about being tested for date rape drugs, such as Rohypnol and Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB).

Truman Health Center nurses are authorized to administer rape kits!

STEP FOUR: REACH OUT FOR HELP

Call a friend or family member you trust, or call a crisis center or hotline. Crisis centers and hotlines have trained volunteers and counselors who can help you find support and resources near you. One hotline is the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). If you are in the military, you may also call the DoD Safe Helpline at 877-995-5246.

STEP FOUR: REPORT THE ASSAULT TO POLICE

If you want to talk to someone first about reporting the assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). A counselor can help you understand how to report the crime. Even though these calls are free, they may appear on your phone bill. If you think that the person who sexually assaulted you may check your phone bill, try to call from a friend’s phone or a public phone.

IMPORTANT: you do not have to prosecute an offender to make a report!

STEP FIVE: WRITE DOWN THE DETAILS

This may be difficult to do, but it will help you if you wish to prosecute the offender for the assault. Remember that you are in control of what happens, and that it is always your choice to prosecute. In addition, remember that there are resources available, both on- and off-campus, to help you.

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