After an Assault
Remember that the sexual assault was not your fault. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted. You are not alone. Support is available on campus to assist you.
The effects of a trauma like sexual assault can be significant and long-lasting. While every survivor is unique, you may find that you experience some or all of the symptoms of Rape Trauma Syndrome, a type of post-traumatic stress disorder. The links in the Resources section and these brochures can provide you with more information:
Many survivors find it helpful to talk to a counselor. Each person decides how she or he wants to use the counseling experience. For example, some want help recovering their sense of control over their lives, getting back on track academically, deciding who will be the best support during recovery, coping with not being believed, or dealing with self blame and loss of confidence.
Regardless of how much time has passed since the sexual assault, counseling and referrals are available at the Wellness Center.
THINGS TO CONSIDER IF THE ASSAULT OCCURRED RECENTLY
- Get to a safe place as soon as you can.
- Call Campus Safety or 911. They can help you get to the hospital as well as help you report the assault should you decide to do so. Call 4-4911 on campus or 773.508.6039 off campus.
- Seek medical attention. It is important to seek immediate and follow-up medical attention in an emergency room for several reasons:
- To assess and treat any physical injuries you may have sustained.
- To determine the risk of sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy and take appropriate medical measures.
- If you choose, you may have evidence collected to aid criminal prosecution if you later decide to file criminal charges. By law, Emergency Room staff must contact the police when they treat sexual assault survivors. The police will ask you to file a report, but you do not have to talk to the police or file a report if you do not want to.
- Consider reporting the assault. You may report the assault to the University or local police. Going to the hospital to seek medical attention does not obligate you to report the crime. The decision to report is very personal and one only you can make.
- Try to preserve all physical evidence. It is best for any physical evidence to be collected immediately, ideally within the first 24 hours. However, evidence can be collected up to one week after an assault. Avoid washing, douching, brushing your teeth, or changing your clothes. This could be difficult, but if you wash you may destroy evidence that will be needed should you decide to press criminal charges. If you do change your clothes, put all clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault in individual paper bags (not plastic).
- What to Expect at the Emergency Room
- Hospitals Served By Rape Victim Advocates
IF THE ASSAULT OCCURRED SOME TIME AGO
Remember that you do not have to go through this alone. The Wellness Center can help with:
- Medical examination. You can be examined for injury, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy.
- Counseling. You can talk with a Wellness Center counselor or receive referrals to local resources.
- More information. Stop by the Wellness Center Resource Room for more information or check out resources online.