What to Do If You Are Sexually Assaulted…
1. Seek Medical Attention
You need to be checked for injury, pregnancy, and STDs. Following an assault, there may be complications you are not immediately aware of and for which a doctor can check. If you call the Crime Victim Center, a counselor will accompany you to the ER and stay with you during your exam. The sooner you seek medical attention, the better the chances of finding evidence and the stronger the criminal case should you decide to press charges. Even if you do not think you want to press charges, it is a good idea to have evidence collected by the hospital.
Bring a change of clothes to the ER and try not to shower, change, eat, brush your teeth, smoke, or use the bathroom beforehand. If you must change, put your clothes in a paper bag and take them with you. While it is the hospital’s policy to call the police, it is your decision whether or not you want to talk to them.
2. Seek Counseling
Sexual assault will not go away the next day. There will be emotions you need to work through, including some conflicting feelings, and a sexual assault counselor can help. All services at the Crime Victim Center are free of charge & a counselor is available 24 hours a day at 814-455-9414 or 1-800-352-7273.
Remember it is not your fault. You have the right to your body and to decide what happens. No matter what you were wearing, how late you were out, how much you were drinking, where you were, if you agreed to have sex with him or her before, how well you know the person, or how much you trusted the person – it was not your fault. If you did not want it to happen, that person should have stopped and respected your wishes. There is not something you “should have” done. If you survived the assault, you did the right thing.
What to Do If Someone You Know is Sexually Assaulted…
1. Let them know you believe them
This is a very real fear in many people. If the first person they tell does not believe the,, victims are more likely to stay silent and not get the medical and counseling treatment they need.
2. Let them know it was not their fault
No matter what they were wearing, how late they were out, if they were drinking, where they were, if they agreed to have sex previously, how well they know the person, or even if they were flirting, it was not their fault. No one asked to be raped!
3. Encourage them to seek medical attention
He or she needs to be checked for injury, pregnancy and STDs. There may be complications from the assault which he or she is not immediately aware of, and for which a doctor can check. Evidence collection can be invaluable should the person decide to pursue legal action- a decision they do not have to make immediately. Have them bring a change of clothes to the ER and tell them not to shower, change, eat, brush your teeth, smoke, or use the bathroom, as this interferes with evidence collection.
4. Encourage them to seek counseling
Sexual assault wont go away the next day.
All services at the CVC are free of charge. A counselor is available 24 hours a day. 814-455-9414.
5. Remember, you’re not there to make decisions for the person
He or she has just had all control taken away; your job is to empower them. Therefore, make suggestions and encourage, but do not force them to go to the hospital or call a counselor.
6. You may be feeling many things when this person discloses the assault to you,but please remain calm! Allow the victim to express his or her feelings, and don’t ask questions that start with “why.” You may call CVC yourself to discuss your own feelings, but for right now, you are there to help him or her.