Steps to take after an assault
Defining sexual assault: Sexual assault is conduct of a sexual nature which is non-consensual, and is accomplished through threat, coercion, exploitation, deceit, force, physical or mental incapacitation and/or power of authority.
Conduct of a sexual nature: Sexual assault includes a wide range of sexual behaviors and sexual activity. Some examples include rape, forcible sodomy, incest, child sexual abuse, unwanted sexual contact or touching, sexual exploitation, forced prostitution and sex trafficking and sexual harassment.
Non-consensual: Sexual assault occurs when someone experiences sexual activity that she or he did not consent to or did not want. Consent cannot be given if the person is underage, drunk, high, unconscious or physically or mentally incapacitated. A person can change his or her mind about sexual activity at any time and withdraw consent.
Steps to Take After an Assault
Go to a safe place.
Contact someone who can help; a friend, family member, the police, Safehome.
Do not shower, eat or drink, douche or change clothes. Doing so may destroy important physical evidence that could be used if you decide to prosecute the assailant.
Get medical attention at the hospital emergency room right away. Even if you don’t want to report the assault to the police, you may have injuries that need to be treated.
You may also want to take precautions to treat sexually transmitted diseases or to prevent pregnancy. In addition, physical evidence may exist up to 72 hours after the assault (24 hours for oral or anal penetration).
Request that the hospital take a urine sample for drug toxicology testing to be done by your law enforcement agency’s crime lab.
A Safehome advocate can accompany you to the hospital or the police station.
As soon as you have a quiet moment where you feel safe, try write down everything that you remember happening, with as much detail as possible. This will help in the healing process, identifying the assailant and in any legal action that may be taken.
Remember, the assault was not your fault.