What To Do If You Are Sexually Assaulted
- Go to a safe place – Your safety is top priority. If you are in danger or need medical care, call 9-1-1. If you need to call a trusted friend or loved one for support and comfort, do so. Both physical safety and emotional safety are important during this time.
You Have Options
- Call a sexual assault service provider: If there is a sexual assault service provider in your area they will be able to assist you and answer any questions you may have about what options are available to you. Check the resource guide on our website for more information. You may speak with an advocate anonymously to receive information.
- You can also call 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. 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.
- Receive medical attention: You may not think that receiving medical care is necessary if you have not received any physical injuries. By going to the hospital you can receive a forensic medical exam (often referred to as a “rape kit”) which will aid in the collection and preservation of physical evidence as a result of the assault. Many hospitals throughout the state have nurses who are specially trained to provide care and administer the Forensic Medical Exam. If a choice of hospital is available to you, you may want to contact those hospitals to see which one has a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) available. Indiana has a number of hospitals with specialized programs within them called The Center of Hope. The Center of Hope is dedicated to caring for victims of sexual assault and family violence. In addition, you may also want to receive medical care to discuss with a health care provider the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections and the possibility of pregnancy resulting from the sexual assault. The health care provider can provide you with preventive treatment for STI’s. Important note: You can consent to a medical examination and the collection of evidence and still withhold consent to release the evidence to the police. If you later decide to file a police report and participate in the prosecution of your assailant, you can give your consent at that time to release the evidence to the police.
- Call the police: You may contact the police to file a police report. By filing a police report, you will be creating a formal, legal record of the crime that was committed against you. If the police are called to the scene, you are under no obligation to file a formal report.
- Cost: The cost of a forensic medical exam is covered by the state of Indiana through Crime Victims Compensation. It is against state and federal law (VAWA Re-Authorization 2013) for a victim to pay any out-of-pocket costs for a forensic medical exam.
How to help someone who has been sexually assaulted
You can help a friend or family member who has been sexually assaulted by listening, offering comfort, and not judging. Reinforce the message that she or he is not at fault and that it is natural to feel angry, confused, or ashamed — or any combination of feelings.
Ask your loved one if she would like you to go with her to the hospital or to counseling. If she decides to report the crime to the police, ask if she would like you to go with her. Let her know that professional help is available.