Sexual Assault : Getting Help
What to do if you are raped
- Go to a safe place.
- If you want to report the crime, notify the police immediately. Reporting the crime can help you regain a sense of personal power and control.
- Call a friend, a family member, or someone else you trust who can be with you and give you support.
- Preserve all physical evidence of the assault. Do not shower, bathe, douche, eat, drink, wash your hands, or brush your teeth until after you have had a medical examination. Save all of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. Place each item of clothing in a separate paper bag. Do not use plastic bags. Do not clean or disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred.
- Get medical care as soon as possible. Go to a hospital emergency department or a specialized forensic clinic that provides treatment for sexual assault victims. Even if you think that you do not have any physical injuries, you should still have a medical examination and discuss with a health care provider the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections and the possibility of pregnancy resulting from the sexual assault. Having a medical exam is also a way for you to preserve physical evidence of a sexual assault.
- If you suspect that you may have been given a "rape drug," ask the hospital or clinic where you receive medical care to take a urine sample. Drugs, such as Rohypnol and GHB, are more likely to be detected in urine than in blood.
- Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances of the assault, including a description of the assailant.
- Get information whenever you have questions or concerns. After a sexual assault, you have a lot of choices and decisions to make - e.g., about getting medical care, making a police report, and telling other people. You may have concerns about the impact of the assault and the reactions of friends and family members. You can get information by calling a rape crisis center, a hotline, or other victim assistance agencies.
- Talk with a counselor who is trained to assist rape victims. Counseling can help you learn how to cope with the emotional and physical impacts of the assault. You can find a counselor by contacting a local rape crisis center, a hotline, a counseling service, other victim assistance agencies, or RAINN. RAINN is a national victim assistance organization, at 1-800-656-HOPE. RAINN will connect you to a rape crisis center in your area. The Houston Area Women's Center also has a sexual assault hotline at (713)528-7273. Fort Bent County Women's Center also has a crisis hotline at (281)342-HELP.