Abuse - If You Have Been Assaulted or Raped...Kathryn Patricelli, MA
- Don't do anything to clean yourself or your environment until you and your environment have been examined by the police and you have been examined by a doctor! You'll destroy evidence if you do any cleaning or rearranging.
- Call the police first thing and report your assault. Get them to document what has happened to you. You can also report the assault later on, if you aren't comfortable doing so first thing. It is best to do it sooner rather than later, if you can manage, however.
- Go to the hospital as soon as you possibly can and tell them you have been assaulted. If you have been raped, ask them to do a rape examination. If you think you may have been drugged (e.g., with Rohypnol), ask them to test your urine. Don't bathe, brush your teeth or do anything to change your condition no matter how bad you look. The idea is that the doctors will be able to document the damage you've sustained, and collect any evidence that may be present (such as semen/cum or hair) that could be used against your attacker in a court of law. Doctors will also be able to treat you for any injuries you may have sustained, and counsel you regarding the possibilities of pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted disease.
- As soon as possible, document what has happened to you in your own words.
- Get to a safe place and stay there. If you can't get to a safe place, try to make where you are safer by asking someone safe to come and stay with you for a while.
- Know that it wasn't your fault that you were assaulted.
- Understand that you can expect to be shaken up for weeks or months after the assault. It takes time to heal from rape and assault. Allow yourself the time you will need to heal. Also know that it's never too late to call. Many assault victims don't realize that they would benefit from help until long after the assault has occurred.
- Rape and assault can be psychologically traumatizing, and posttraumatic stress disorder is a possibility. If you find that you are not recovering from the rape or assault, seek professional mental health care for PTSD.