What to do if you are sexually assaulted?
Sexual violence is any form of unwanted sexual activity or sexual contact. Sexual violence can include rape, sexual assault, incest, child sexual abuse, date and acquaintance rape, drug facilitated sexual assault, martial or partner rape, sexual harassment, sex trafficking, and unwanted release of sexual/nude photos on the internet or social media.
The first concern is your safety.
- Are you in a safe place?
- Can you get to one?
- Can you contact someone that can help you get to one? Call 911, if necessary.
You can call the YWCA Help Line at 314-531-7273 for emergency assistance and questions, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
At any point, you should try to find someone you trust to talk about what has happened.
You do not have to go through this alone.
You can call YWCA Women’s Services at 314-531-1115 and ask to speak to an advocate for questions and assistance.
Hospital emergency departments can provide a medical exam, the option of an evidence collection kit, emergency prophylactic treatment to help prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. A victim advocate with the YWCA Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) will be called to be at your side to support you through the process and help answer your questions.
Request a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) to help perform the medical exam and evidence collection, if you choose to have those completed.
If the assault happened more than a week ago, consider making an appointment to see your doctor or request information about community resources in your area. Unless you feel you are having a medical emergency.
If you suspect you have been drugged and sexually assaulted, you can request that the hospital perform a urine test to look for drugs that my have been used to facilitate a sexual assault.
It is entirely your choice as you whether or not you want to file a police report. There are no right and wrong decisions. However the YWCA works collaboratively with local and federal law enforcement to provide support services to victims reporting sexual violence.
Although it is common for people to want to shower or bathe after a sexual assault it is not recommended, if you have not already done so, do not bathe or shower or attempt to wash or discard the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault, in order to aid the investigation.
Receiving help after a sexual assault can mean the difference between being a victim or a survivor. BT, a client, knows this first-hand. She was struggling with her sense of self and with experiencing healthy intimate relationships.
She had suffered years of abuse as a child at the hands of her father, and later in life by her husband. Finally, she sought the help she needed through the YWCA in September 2010. Her case manager noted that “she proved to be a very insightful client and allowed that skill to drive her therapy experience to help her become more comfortable with herself. She was committed to her treatment process and took each therapy session and assignment seriously.”
With the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder managed and a better understanding of her triggers, BT successfully completed her treatment in December. BT says that without the support of the individual and group counseling she received, “I’m not certain I would have been able to achieve a sense of balance and healing.”
A sexual assault survivor, we’ll call “Mary” came to us about four months ago. Mary is currently completing her first year of recovery from alcohol and crack. She came to the YWCA Women’s Resource Center to work on dealing with her brutal sexual assault that took place when she was 15, and was then forced into prostitution. Mary later went on to survive a series of domestic violent relationships and is now in stable housing and working full time.
While Mary has overcome so much she still faces many challenges. She makes less than $9 an hour, has no car, and is fighting to regain custody of her children. Mary, with the help of staff, is exploring ways to improve her financial situation as well as the possibilities of owning a vehicle. Mary continues to attend each session on time and ready to work. Just this past week Mary discussed her struggles with losing everything? her marriage, kids and home? and being homeless. Mary says that her journey with YWCA has been amazing and that she is glad that she is ready to finally face her sexual assault and the impact it has had on her life.