What you need to do if you are the victim of a rape or sexual assault:
1. Do not shower or bathe. You might wash away critical evidence against your attacker. Do not wash any clothing you were wearing when the assault occurred – you will need to bring them with you to the emergency room.
2. Go to the nearest hospital emergency room. They will do the necessary tests and refer you to agencies that will help you through the process of reporting the assault to authorities.
- Timing is critical – if the “date rape” drug was used, it will be out of your system in a number of hours.
- The hospital may need to test you and treat you for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- Emergency room personnel may offer you Emergency Contraception (Plan B or “The Morning After Pill”). Read our info on Emergency Contraception before making that decision. (Link to Emergency Contraception page)
3. Press charges. Though the legal process is a difficult one, it can empower victims to help themselves and also to prevent their attacker or attackers from hurting others.
- If your attacker is a member of your family or close to your family and you may not feel safe in your home, authorities can find you a safe place to stay.
- If you are a minor, a court of law may appoint a “guardian ad litem” – a court-appointed attorney to represent your interests and help you through the process.
4. Accept help. You have been through a traumatic event. Do not try to go it alone. There are counselors and support groups available. Here are some good places to start: