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If You've Been Sexually Assaulted

Remember it wasn't your fault!

What you do next is up to you. Here are some options to consider:

Go to a safe place - any place away from the attacker. Find someone you trust or call University Police at 660.562.1254 to get connected with an advocate.

Seek medical treatment with or without undergoing the sexual assault exam:

-If you choose to undergo a sexual assault exam, services are provided at St. Francis Hospital. At St. Francis, you can choose to meet with by a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) who is specially trained to collect evidence from the sexual assault/rape. When you go to the hospital for the sexual assault exam,

  • Do not launder your clothes - evidence can be collected from them.
  • If you have removed your clothes but have saved them for evidence collection, store them in a brown paper bag. Do not store clothes in a plastic bag- evidence cannot be collected from items stored in plastic.
  • Do not shower or douche before the exam.
  • Try to refrain from using the restroom, eating, or drinking before the medical exam.
  • Take an extra change of clothes to the hospital with you. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner will collect and keep your clothes for evidence.

-If you choose not to undergo the sexual assault exam, it is still important to take care of yourself. Consider going to the Wellness Center or St. Francis Hospital for medical care.  At these locations, you can be treated for any injuries you may have, and have testing and preventative measures taken.

Consider reporting the crime to authorities. Call University Police at 660.562.1254, or call 911 to contact local authorities.

You have the option of reporting immediately and seeking legal action or defer filing a report while further considering the issue and taking care of yourself (wait until morning/next day, etc.) Remember that reporting the assault and seeking medical care do not require that you seek further legal action. However, it is vital to make the initial report so that you have the opportunity to pursue legal action later if you so decide.

Contact an advocate. There are trained advocates available 24/7 for you to utilize - just call University Police at (660) 562-1254 and they can connect you with one.

An advocate can assist survivors in the process, answer questions, ensure that the individual understands alternatives and can provide general support for the survivor.

Find emotional support. Get ongoing counseling to help with your recovery. Free counseling is available at University Wellness Services. You can reach Personal Development and Counseling Services by calling the Front Desk at (660)562-1348. Also, you can consider talking to a friend, relative, or someone else you can trust.

People who have been sexually assaulted or raped in the past may experience these feelings:

Feelings of fear:

  • of being alone or being in a crowd
  • of assailant returning (making good on threats)
  • of others finding out, fear of others' opinions
  • of things or places which remind them of the attack
  • of persons the same gender as the attacker
  • of her/his children being attacked

Feelings of powerlessness, lack of control, helplessness:

  • feeling that her/his privacy and right to choose have been denied
  • feeling unable to: change the situation; to stop crying; to stop reliving the experience
  • feeling powerless to fight back
  • lack of control over different areas of her/his life to varying degrees

Feelings of guilt/self-blame:

  • for having caused the rape - "If only I hadn't..."
  • for not having fought back
  • for being "stupid" enough to get into that situation
  • for any or all reactions that s/he is having

Feelings of shame or embarrassment:

  • feeling filthy, like "damaged goods"
  • feeling everyone looks at her/him, knows what happened and judges

Feelings of betrayal:

  • feeling wronged for having trusted, having been friendly, having been open with another person

Feelings of anger:

  • wanting to kill, castrate, or humiliate the assailant
  • anger at her/himself for letting it happen

Feelings of denial:

  • wanting to deny that it happened
  • wanting to not make a fuss over it
  • wanting to get on with daily business

Source: http://www.etwrc.ku.edu/~etwrc/SVPS/FAQ.shtml

Recognize that healing from sexual assault takes time. Give yourself the time you need.