- Find a safe place away from the attacker and call 911, a friend, or your local rape crisis center.
- Know that what happened was not your fault and that now you should do what is best for you. Report the attack to police by calling 911.
- If you are unsure about reporting to police please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE and a person will help you to understand your options.
- Preserve as much evidence as possible to assist in investigating/prosecuting the rapist.
- DO NOT take a shower or bath, douche or urinate, brush your teeth or hair, change clothes, drink or eat, smoke, or wash your hands before you go to the hospital or rape crisis center.
- DO NOT disturb the area where the rape occurred.
- Write down as many details as you can remember about the attack and the assailant.
- If you think you were drugged, tell the person you are reporting to so they can perform the proper tests.
- If you do not want to report the rape, you should still seek medical attention. Even if you do not have visible wounds there may be internal injuries and you will need to be tested for STDs including HIV, and, pregnancy. Ask the hospital to conduct a sexual assault forensic exam to preserve evidence. The forensic exam is available to you free of charge even you don’t report to law enforcement as long as you make the request within 72 hours of the assault.
- If you report the rape to the police it is important to be up-front and honest with them about all the details.
- Although it may be embarrassing to tell the police everything that happened, it is vital to tell them every detail you can. Remember, the rapist forced you to do what he wanted.
- Be truthful in your re-telling of events to the police. Often the defense will try to attack your credibility. Attacking your credibility will be more difficult if you are open and honest from the beginning.
- Seek counseling. Counseling is important to healing. If you try to pretend the rape didn’t happen, it will eventually affect every aspect of your life. The sooner you start processing what happened and start rebuilding your life, the sooner you will be able to start healing.
If you choose to not report, you should still do the following:
- Get medical attention. Even with no physical injuries, it is important to determine the risks of STDs and pregnancy.
Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline, operated by RAINN, for free, confidential counseling, 24 hours a day: 1.800.656.HOPE.
- Recognize that healing from rape takes time. Give yourself the time you need.
- Know that it’s never too late to call. Even if the attack happened years ago, the National Sexual Assault Hotline or the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline can still help. Many victims do not realize they need help until months or years later.
REMEMBER: Whatever you did to survive was the right thing. You are NOT to blame. The rapist committed a crime. Going on a date, having fun with your friends, or giving someone your phone number is not a crime!
*Information gathered from The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) website at www.rainn.org