What To Do If You or Someone You Know is Assaulted

First & Foremost is Safety

U.S. Department of Justice surveys of college campuses show that one in 26 women are victims of rape or attempted rape EACH year. An estimated 92,700 men are forcibly raped each year in the United States.  In 80% of these cases the victim knows the assailant.  IF this happens to you or someone you know it is important to understand your options or how to help.

Your local hospital can address immediate health care needs after a sexual assault.  Medications to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy prevention are available.

Common Questions

What should I do?? 

  • Get to a safe place.
  • Contact someone you trust.
  • Call the hot-line or call 911.

Will you get pregnant?

Taking the pregnancy prevention medication within 72 hours of the assault reduces risk of getting pregnant by 75%.

Do you think you were drugged?

Samples of urine and blood may be obtained to test for “date rape drugs”.  It is important to collect these as soon as possible.  If report to Law Enforcement, be sure to tell the officer that date rape drugs may have been used.

Will Health Care Providers report to police? 

Medical providers are required to report injuries that occurred because of a crime.  For care without law enforcement involvement, you may seek pregnancy protection or infection protection without saying that you were assaulted.  Please remember that if you do report the assault your clinician can better help you. Also, counseling and care from the crisis hotline and the local rape recovery center is confidential.

Who gets assaulted?

Anyone can be a victim of assault; victims can be from any age or any walk of life.  People do not “ask for it”. SExual assault is a crime of violence.  This crime is not the victim’s fault. Rape, sexual assault, intimate partner violence represent a significant public health crisis.

Why report?

Evidence can only be collected in the first few days after the assault.  The best evidence is collected earliest.  For almost all victims of violence, the initial response is shock and denial. These initial feelings are often temporary.

Evidence is also temporary.

Following sexual assault or rape, feelings often move from shock and denial into anger. At the time of anger, many survivors and victims of violence wish they had requested evidence collection at the time of the assault.

Evidence generally needs to be collected within 72 hours; some injuries and bruising may be documented later. Reporting to law enforcement will allow Crime Victim Reparations to pay for the initial examination and medications. They may also cover additional future expenses for needed health care, counseling and other costs related to the assault.

Reporting this crime also increases the awareness of law enforcement and the public regarding how significant  and frequent this crime is.

Remember, Sexual Assault IS NOT the fault of the victim! 

How to Report

Call 911 or call the statewide(Utah) 24 hour crisis line 1-888-421-1100

Report or Not

The decision about whether or not to talk with the police about the assault is an individual one.  Discussing the assault with law enforcement may allow the perpetrator to be held accountable for the crime and will allow state funds to pay for the immediate medical care of the victim.  Fear and embarrassment often cause many people to be reluctant to tell others about the assault.  Even if one chooses to not immediately report the crime to police, crisis care and counseling are always available through the statewide number or through your local rape recovery center.

Focus on Health Care~ Are There Injuries?

Often because of shock and denial victims do not know if they  were physically injred.  If there is vaginal bleeding, a temperature greater than 100.4, or abdominal pain it is important to see a health care provider.  Health Care providers may prescribe medications to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

Evidence Collection ~ Purpose of the Examination

If an assault is reported to law enforcement and examination may be done to collect evidence. The purpose of the examination is to identify and document any evidence of trauma as well as to collect evidence of sexual assault for the police.  A history of the assault is an important part of the evidence.  A nurse who specializes in evidence collection called a forensic nurse examiner will provide medication to prevent some sexually transmitted diseases and help prevent pregnancy.

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