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What To Do If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted
People who have been sexually assaulted react in many different ways — there is no right or wrong reaction. Listed here are some important things to consider. Even if your assault happened days, weeks, months or years ago, it is never too late — or less important — for you to seek help and start your healing process.
- Get to a safe place as soon as you can. If the assailant poses an immediate danger to you or anyone else, alert the police as soon as possible.
- Once you are safe, contact someone you trust to be with you for support. This could be a friend, family member, a resident assistant or a specially trained sexual assault advocate.
- If you want support from a completely confidential source, contact 765.742.0244. Specially trained volunteers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to speak with you regarding your options and available resources/support services.
- Try to preserve all physical evidence, even if you don’t know if you want to report the assault or press charges.
- Do not eat, drink, bathe, shower, wash your hands, use the toilet or brush your teeth.
- Don’t change your clothes if possible, but if you need to change, put all of the clothes you were wearing in a paper bag and bring them with you to your medical exam.
- Take a minute to write down everything you remember about the assault, including a description of the assailant.
- You should 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 infection (women may also be at risk for pregnancy). Specially trained medical professionals can perform a post-sexual assault exam at the Women's Clinic at the Purdue University Student Health Center or at the Center for Hope at St. Elizabeth's Hospital (for exams outside PUSH's regular business hours).
- Contact the police to report the assault. Please consider the additional information regarding what to expect when filing a report with law enforcement.
- Seek emotional support to help sort out your feelings about the assault. Confidential counseling services are available for students by appointment from Counseling and Psychological Services.
- Consider other available options for support and further action, including assistance from the University and the community.