Doctor's Search

Sexual Assault

August 5, 2015

Helping Yourself, Helping Others

What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?

* Find a safe environment – anywhere away from the attacker. Ask a trusted friend stay with you for moral support.
* Preserve evidence of the attack – don’t bathe or brush your teeth. Write down all the details you can recall about the attack & the attacker.
* Get medical attention. Even with no physical injuries, it is important to determine the risks of STDs and pregnancy.
– To preserve forensic evidence, ask the hospital to conduct a rape kit exam.
– If you suspect you may have been drugged, ask that a urine sample be collected. The sample will need to be analyzed later on by a forensic lab.
* Report the rape to law enforcement authorities. A counselor can provide the information you’ll need to understand the process.
* Remember it wasn’t your fault.
* Recognize that healing from rape takes time. Give yourself the time you need.
* Know that it’s never too late to call. Even if the attack happened years ago, they can still help. Many victims do not realize they need help until months or years later.

How can I help a friend who has been sexually assaulted?

* Listen. Be there. Don’t be judgmental.
* Encourage your friend to seriously consider reporting the rape to law enforcement authorities. A counselor can provide the information your friend will need to make this decision.
* Be patient. Remember, it will take your friend some time to deal with the crime.
* Let your friend know that professional help is available.
* Encourage him or her to call the authorities, but realize that only your friend can make the decision to get help.

What can I do to reduce my risk of sexual assault?

* Don’t leave your beverage unattended or accept a drink from an open container.
* When you go to a party, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, watch out for each other, and leave together.
* Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
* Don’t allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t know or trust.
* Think about the level of intimacy you want in a relationship, and clearly state your limits.

How can I protect my child from sexual abuse?

* Communicate, communicate, communicate.
* Speak to your children using the proper names for their body parts. Armed with information, children are better able to report abuse to you.
* Teach your children about safe and unsafe touches, as well as what is appropriate physical affection.
* Let your children know that respect for elders doesn’t extend to an adult that has made your child uncomfortable. It’s OK to say no and it’s OK to leave the situation.
* Trust your own instincts. If your instincts tell you something is wrong, follow-up.