What to do if you have been sexually assaulted
Remember that the sexual assault was not your fault. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted. You are not alone.
It is best for any physical evidence to be collected immediately, ideally within the first 24 hours. (The quality and quantity of evidence collected later than this may be substantially diminished). Avoid washing, douching, brushing your teeth, or changing your clothes. This could be difficult, but if you wash you may destroy evidence that will be needed should you decide to press criminal charges. If you do change your clothes, put all clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault in individual paper bags (not plastic).
It is important to seek immediate and follow-up medical attention for several reasons:
- To assess and treat any physical injuries you may have sustained.
- To determine the risk of sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy and take appropriate medical measures.
- If you choose, you may have evidence collected to aid criminal prosecution if you later decide to file criminal charges. By law, emergency room staff must contact the police when they treat sexual assault survivors. The police will not ask you to file a report if you do not want to.
Remember that you do not have to go through this alone.
- Medical examination: You can be examined for injury, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy.
- Counseling: You can talk with a counselor or receive referrals to local resources
Get to a safe place as soon as you can.
The hospital can provide general medical treatment and if the victim chooses, conduct a special evidence collection exam. A medical exam could include treatment of any physical problems and various lab tests for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. A specially trained nurse, an emergency department physician, or a gynecologist will perform the evidence collection exam. A sexual assault advocate or a support person of your choice may be present throughout the procedure.
- The hospital emergency department follows national standards for victim care, rape exams, and evidence collection procedures. If the decision is made to conduct an evidence collection exam, the anonymous evidence may be held for 6 months or longer. This means you do not have to decide immediately whether you want to press criminal charges.
Even if you choose not to have a hospital exam, it is still important to get medical attention to treat any physical problems and to conduct various lab tests for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. To arrange non-emergency treatment, contact Health Services (651-962-6750).
Call Public Safety at (96)2-5555 (emergency) or (96)2-5100 (non-emergency) or your local police at 911. They can help you get to the hospital as well as help you report the assault, should you decide to do so.