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If you are a victim of Sexual Assault

If you are a victim of Sexual Assault

Know that what happened was not your fault and
that now you should do what is best for you.

If you are sexually assaulted:

  1. Find a safe location away from the perpetrator. Ask a trusted friend to be with you for moral support.
  2. Know that what happened was not your fault.
  3. Preserve all evidence of the attack.
    1. Do not bathe, wash your hands, brush your teeth, eat, or smoke.
    2. If you are still in the location at which the crime occurred, do not clean or straighten up or remove anything.
    3. Write down all the details you can recall about the attack and the perpetrator.
  4. Report the attack to law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.)
    1. If you want more information, contact a Human Response Network Sexual Assault Victim Advocate (530-623-HELP).   An advocate can help you understand the reporting process.
  5. Seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if you do not have any visible physical injuries, you may be at risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease (women may also be at risk for pregnancy).
    1. To find a local hospital or healthcare facility that is equipped to collect forensic evidence, contact a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate (530-623-HELP). The crisis line will connect you to an advocate, which can provide information on the nearest medical facility, and send an advocate to accompany you through the evidence collection process.
    2. If you suspect you have been drugged, request that a urine sample be collected to preserve evidence.
  6. Recognize that healing from an attack takes time. Give yourself the time you need and know that it is never too late to get help.
    1. For free, confidential help 24/7, contact the Human Response Network's Crisis Line and ask to speak with a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate (530-623-HELP).
    2. Know that it's never too late to call. Even if the attack happened years ago, the Human Response Network can still help. Many victims do not realize they need help until months or years later.

Victims often feel:

  • Guilt
  • Depression
  • Distrust
  • Ambivalence
  • Fear
  • Denial
  • Overwhelmed
  • Helpless
  • Angry

Victims May Experience Rape Trauma Syndrome:

  • Low energy/tired a lot
  • Unable to sleep well
  • Not wanting to be around friends or family members
  • Crying a lot
  • Not able to enjoy the activities they did before the rape
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Mentally re-living the incident
  • Irritability or excessive anger
  • A desire to move/get away

Receiving Medical Attention

It is vital for a victim of sexual assault to receive medical attention, regardless of his or her decision to report the crime to the police. For the victim's health and self-protection, it is important to be checked and treated for possible injuries, even if none are visible.

You have the right to a forensic sexual assault exam at no charge to you, even if you choose not to be involved with law enforcement.

Importance of DNA

Preserving DNA evidence is a key tool for law enforcement's investigation and prosecution of a sexual assault case. It is used to prove that a sexual assault occurred and to show that the defendant is the source of biological material left on the victim's body.

A victim advocate understands the dynamics of sexual assault
and can help a victim on the journey to becoming a survivor.

530-623-HELP or 530-623-2024 or 800-358-5251

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