When in Crisis

What to do if you have been sexually assaulted

  • Seek safety. For immediate police action, dial 911 or the local police department.
  • A medical examination at a hospital is imperative.
  • Until you are seen by a doctor, do NOT bathe, shower, douche, wash your hands, comb your hair or use the toilet.  Do not change or destroy your clothing.
  • You have the right to have forensic evidence collected, whether or not you choose to have the policing authorities involved.  This way the evidence can be available if you later decide to press charges.  There is no statute of limitations for sexual offences.
  • Obtaining immediate medical attention is crucial for determining the extent of your injuries and to begin any treatment.  While in shock, people often are not aware of their injuries.
  • If you have a pregnancy test, realize that immediate pregnancy testing will only indicate whether you were already pregnant at the time of the assault.
  • You should undergo testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
  • As soon as possible, you should write down as much as you can remember concerning the assault.
  • Please consider the possible need for emergency housing, as it may not be physically safe or psychologically appropriate for you to remain at home.  Residential options may include family, friends or a transition house.
  • Follow-up services can include a referral to a sexual assault centre or other counselling support agencies.

Helping Survivors

  • The period immediately following a sexual assault is an emotionally charged, confusing and extremely anxious time for the victim. She has been terrorized and violated as a person, and she is now facing many additional worries.
  • The goal for a helper, friend or family member of a sexual assault survivor is to show her that she is believed, it was not her fault, and she is not alone or without resources.

 

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