What do I do if I've been sexually assaulted?
Take steps right away if you've been sexually assaulted.
- Get away from the attacker to a safe place as fast as you can. Then call 911
or the police.
- Call a friend or family member you trust. You also can call a
crisis center or a hotline to talk with a counselor. One hotline is the National
Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). Feelings of shame, guilt, fear,
and shock are normal. It is important to get counseling from a trusted
- Do not wash, comb, or clean any part of your body. Do not change
clothes if possible, so the hospital staff can collect evidence. Do not touch or
change anything at the scene of the assault.
- Go to your nearest hospital
emergency room as soon as possible. You need to be examined, treated for any
injuries, and screened for possible sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or
pregnancy. The doctor will collect evidence using a rape kit for fibers, hairs,
saliva, semen, or clothing that the attacker may have left behind.
- You or the
hospital staff can call the police from the emergency room to file a report.
- Ask the hospital staff about possible support groups you can attend right away.
Where else can I go for help?
If you are sexually assaulted, it is not your fault. Don't be afraid to ask
for help or support. Help is available. You can call these organizations:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224
- National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
There are many
organizations and hotlines in every state and territory. These crisis centers
and agencies work hard to stop assaults and help victims. You can find contact
information for these organizations at http://www.womenshealth.gov/violence/state/.
You also can obtain the numbers of shelters, counseling services, and legal
assistance in your phone book.