How to Cope With Sexual Assault

How to find emergency and crisis services when reporting a rape or sexual assault. Many people do not know how RAINN operates or how to find a local crisis center, where the best emergency room is or how to find a victim's advocate. Please add any US or International directories or rape crisis center resources to the external links area or add them to the steps area.

Steps

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    The first thing you can do after being assaulted is find a crisis counselor. There are local hotlines near your area, and you can call emergency services if you're in danger.
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    After you have contacted a crisis center please read advice from RAINN on what to do immediately after being assaulted which includes: Write down all the details you can recall, find a safe environment and preserve evidence of the attack (don't brush your teeth or shower).
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    The next step would be to seek medical attention and have a rape kit done. It is important to make sure there is not a pregnancy (emergency contraception prevents this) or an STD. Urine samples determine whether there is a date rape drug in your system. The sooner you have these tests done the better. You can find local rape crisis medical services at medline, in a search engine or in the phone book.
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    After seeking medical care you should think about reporting the crime to the authorities. If you choose to file a report with the police it is important that you have a victim's advocate. You can find victim's advocates at your local rape crisis center or at Rape Crisis Victim Assistance. For immediate victim assistance call 1 800-879-6682. Studies have found that victims who had advocates with them during the police interview had a better overall experience. The advocate can also walk you through the entire legal process.
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    Consider doing some research into the effects of rape and coping skills for dealing with rape trauma syndrome.[1][2]

Tips

  • If you are feeling suicidal please call 1.800.SUICIDE (784.2433)
  • RAINN actually forwards you to a local crisis hotline. If you call RAINN you will be speaking to a local crisis center.
  • Remember that the rape survivor community includes all types of people including men, LGBTQ, diverse cultures and the disabled. You are not alone.
  • Because you are usually the only witness, it is hard for a charge to be pressed if you wish not to. Therefore, it is your decision whether or not to attempt to have charges pressed.

Warnings

  • Beware of victim blame, rape myths and secondary victimization.
  • Do not bathe or change your clothes. Evidence of the assault must remain intact.
  • There is nothing you don't have to fight for when it comes to victim advocacy.

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Pages Needing Attention | Healing from Sexual Assault