Sexually Assaulted - What to do
Go to a safe location away from the attacker.
Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
Get medical attention as soon as possible.
Whether you have insurance or not, the Sex Crime
Victims Fund will cover your entire hospital visit within
96 hours of the assault. You must, however, go to the
Emergency Room—not to a family doctor or private
practice. By going to the Emergency Room, you will also have the opportunity to have an S-O-S advocate at your side. They will be there to support you and pro- vide information to you and anyone else who comes with you to the Emergency Room.
After a sexual assault, the primary medical concerns are physical injury, sexually transmitted infection and pregnancy. A preventive pregnancy medication can be given at the time of the exam but is most effective if taken within 24 hours. It may be taken up to 72 hours after the assault.
In order to press charges, a Rape Kit must be performed. A Rape Kit is used to collect evidence from your body. The Rape Kit consists of several different parts, and includes swabbing, hair combing, debris collection, a speculum exam, drawing blood, and taking photos. If you are unsure whether you would like to press charges or not, you can choose to have a “Jane Doe” Rape Kit. The Rape Kit is given a code number, and will be held for one year in case you decide to prosecute. How ever, time delays do greatly complicate cases.
Medical attention for physical injury, sexually transmitted diseases, and possible pregnancy is available at the IU South Bend Health and Wellness Center, but we cannot perform Rape Kits. Only an Emergency Room is able to execute a Rape Kit.
Preserve all physical evidence
Do not bathe, shower, douche, use the toilet, brush your teeth, comb your hair,
or change your clothes. If you must change your clothes, place each piece of
clothing in a separate paper bag to help preserve potential evidence.
If possible, write down any specific details that you remember.
Follow-up testing is available free of charge to victims who are seen at the Emergency Room and are given a Rape Kit. It is by appointment only, and is
located at the Family Justice Center. Your nurse will make the appointment for you.
If you have not set an appointment prior to leaving the hospital, call the S-O-S office to schedule an appointment. (574) 289-HELP
Rape and/or other forms of sexual assault are significant traumas. It is normal to react with feelings of:
It is important to deal with these emotional issues. Close friends and family
members are good sources of support. However, it is often beneficial to seek
the assistance of professionals.
How Counseling Helps
Counseling offers the opportunity to:
Talk about the incident in a safe, supportive environment.
Identify the factors that contribute to the problem;
Identify negative or distorted thinking patterns that contribute to the
Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, anger, etc;
Help individuals regain a sense of control and pleasure in life.
IU South Bend offers free counseling to all students. Appointments can be made either for yourself or to consult about how to help a friend. Confidentiality is guaranteed.
IU South Bend Student Counseling Center
Administration Building 130
1700 Mishawaka Avenue
South Bend, IN 46634
Phone: (574) 520-4125
Hours are Monday-Thursday, 9am-6pm; Friday by appointment.
S-O-S also offers free counseling to survivors of sexual assault.
What To Do If Someone You Know Is Attacked
S-O-S of the Family Justice Center
711 East Colfax Avenue
South Bend, IN 46617
Phone: (574) 389-HELP
While talking with a sexual assault victim, be aware and remember the following:
Safety: If the victim is not safe, assist them in finding a safe place, but don’t put yourself in an unsafe position.
Listen and Validate: A victim is often confused, disoriented, and emotionally upset. The most important thing you can do is listen to what they are able to share. Do not try to evaluate their statements or make value judgments about what they are saying.
Assess Needs: Ask the victim what their immediate needs are. For example, do they need immediate medical assistance? Do they need a safe place to stay for the night? Do they need to contact a friend, family member or a professional counselor? Do they need a protective order to legally keep the
offender away from them?
Offer Options: Provide information that will help them make decisions. They may need to know their options, such as: S-O-S advocates are on call 24-hours a day to provide crisis counseling and information, and can meet a victim at the hospital; the Emergency Room provides physical exams to evaluate the victim’s medical conditions; or that the police department is one place where they can report assault.
Support Choices: During the sexual assault, the victim’s choices have been ignored. It is vital that you not reinforce their sense of victimization by making choices for them or ignoring the choices they made, even if you do not agree with those choices. For example, if they decide not to report the assault to the police, that decision needs to be honored.
Take Care of Yourself: Accept your limitations. If you are uncomfortable in dealing with a victim, ask for assistance. There are S-O-S advocates trained in
sexual assault crisis counseling who can answer questions you may have or assist you in dealing with any confusing or upsetting emotions you may be
experiencing as a result of assisting a victim. Find someone with whom you can talk and from whom you can receive support. This can be a stressful situation for you, too. Attend to your needs.