Tips for Staying Safe
If You Have Been Raped
IF YOU HAVE BEEN RAPED
- Tell someone you trust
- Call the police immediately
- Go to the hospital or a doctor
- Call for support of a rape crisis worker
- Wash, shower, douche, urinate or defecate (if
- Change your clothes or anything about the scene where
the crime took place.
- Eat, drink, or smoke.
You could destroy evidence which may be needed
RAPE IS UNLAWFUL
WOMEN DO NOT ASK FOR RAPE; NO ONE
RAPE IS NOT A SEXUAL ACT, IT IS AN
ACT OF VIOLENCE
Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact or attention. It is an assault
which can be caused by any force either physical or non-physical. The force can
take the form of threats, bribes, manipulation, or violence. It can be verbal,
visual, audio, vaginal, anal, oral, or any other form which forces an
individual to participate in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Sexual
assault includes rape and attempted rape in the forms of date and acquaintance
rape, marital rape, and stranger rape. It also includes child molestation,
voyeurism, exhibitionism, incest, and sexual harassment. Sexual assault can be
committed by adults, children, males, females, strangers friends, dates,
acquaintances or relatives. Anyone can be sexually assaulted, regardless of age,
sex, sexual orientation, economic, ethnic or religious heritage.
What to Do If It Happens to You
- Try to go to a safe place.
- If you can, call someone you trust like a friend or a member of your
family. You may call a rape crisis counselor or have someone call one for you.
- It is important to get medical attention as soon as possible. This is not
only important in case of injury, but also to protect against sexually
transmitted diseases and pregnancy. In many states throughout the U.S., a
standardized "rape kit" examination may be performed in case of
possible future criminal prosecution. The rape kit is sealed and submitted to
the police crime lab. Results are only used in case of prosecution. No matter
what your decision about prosecuting the offender, a rape kit is highly
- Do not wash, comb, or clean any part of your body. Do not change clothes if
possible. Do not touch or change anything at the scene of the assault. This
insures evidence preservation in case of future criminal prosecution.
- In most states, but depending on where you live it could be different, a
sexual assault survivor has three options when filing a police report: a report
can be filed with the intent of prosecuting the offender, a report can be filed
but without the intent of prosecuting, or a third party report can be filed
where the survivor remains anonymous (the survivor's name is withheld from the
report) and no prosecution takes place. It is the survivor's right to change
their mind at any time during the judicial process.
- Because sexual assault is a crime of violence, emotions such as shock,
anger, shame, guilt, and fear or a combination of those feelings are normal. It
is important to get counseling from a trusted and professional counselor and/or
to join a support group. No one should have to face the trauma of sexual
Sexual Assault is not your fault.
If your sexual assault was in the past, what should
- Again, it depends on what state you live in and how the laws work there.
You need to check with your local or state police departments or district
attorney's office to see what can be done.
In some states, if an assault has taken place within the past six years and the
survivor was over 18 years of age when the assault took place, criminal charges
may still be brought against the offender. If the offense occurred before the
survivor was 18 years of age, charges may be brought until the survivor is
either 21 years of age or six years after the most recent assault (whichever is
later). If the survivor wishes to prosecute, charges should be filed with a law
enforcement agency which will then present the information to the prosecuting
- If you are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (long-term
psychological, emotional and/or physical symptoms due to the stress caused by
the assault), counseling and support groups may be of help.