After an Assault
- The sexual assault was not your fault.
- No one deserves to be sexually assaulted.
- You are not alone.
- Support is available on campus and off-campus
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.
Things to consider if the assault occurred recently:
- Get to a safe place as soon as you can.
- 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 a criminal complaint. 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 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. Avoiding certain activities prior to an exam can help preserve evidence. Not bathing, changing clothes, combing hair, or going to the bathroom are among these. Note that it is natural to want to go through these motions after a trauma. If you have done any of these activities, you can still have an exam performed and evidence may still be preserved. You may want to bring a spare change of clothes with you to the hospital. If you have already changed clothes, you may want to bring the clothes you were wearing in a paper bag with you to the hospital.
Things to consider 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.
- Discussing your options. Call 773-494-3810 to speak with a confidential trained sexual assault advocate.