When you’re sexually assaulted so many things run through your head at super-sonic speeds. You feel dirty, you feel violated, you want a hot shower, and you want to shrink up into a ball praying that no one ever finds out. But you need to stay hyper vigilant so you can help the police find your attacker, and help yourself get through the crisis.
Take a Good Look at Your Attacker
Sometimes things happen quickly and it’s hard to get a good close up look at someone. But, it’s important to pay close attention to everything that’s going on around you. Pay attention to what they’re wearing, their shoes, their voice and any accents they might have, the color of their hair, or any visible tattoos. Even an estimate of their height and weight can give the police something to go on while they’re trying to find them.
Before You Do Anything Else, Report It
Although you feel embarrassed and ashamed, call the police and report it. Remember, you haven’t done anything wrong. The person on the other end of the phone deals with issues like this every day, and they will put your mind at ease early in the phone call.
Give them the details of the attack along with your best description. If you aren’t comfortable calling them yourself, have your parents or another trusted adult call for you.
While You’re Waiting for the Police to Arrive
Do not do anything to tidy yourself up at all. Although you might feel violated and dirty, don’t change your clothes or take a shower. Maintaining the integrity of any evidence left on you is vital to building the case against your attacker.
You should also try to avoid going to the washroom until after the police have arrived if possible. If you need to go to the washroom, don’t wipe yourself because you could accidentally wipe away important DNA. Instead, you should either allow yourself to drip dry or use a blow dryer.
When the Police Get There
Tell the officer everything that happened in as much detail as possible. They will give you an opportunity to change your clothes, and give you evidence bags to put the ones you were wearing during the attack into.
The officer will also suggest that you seek medical treatment. Although it is not required, it is highly recommended because of the possibility of conception, STDs, lacerations, tearing, bruising, and various other repercussions. Even if you don’t feel like you want to go, you still should.
It’s important to both your physical well-being and your mental health. The counseling services provided by the sexual assault services will help you through all the emotions that you’ll be dealing with over the next coming days, weeks, and months. This is one case where friends and family just aren’t equipped to help you over every hurdle.
At the Hospital
At the hospital, they will offer you a rape kit, which you don’t have to agree to, but it’s in your best interests if you do. They basically go over you from head to toe looking for evidence against the person who attacked you. They will also give you "The Day After Pill," along with various other pills designed to help prevent you from contracting an STD.
If your attacker is HIV positive, they will usually start you on the HIV-PEP cocktail for 28 days. Although you will feel very sick on the medication, it’s better than the alternative. The important thing is to stay on it for as long as you can. If you can make it through the entire 28 days, it’s over 80% effective in preventing the virus.
Over the Next Few Days
The next few days will feel like a whirlwind between written and/or video statements, phone calls with victim witness programs, and following up on your attacker’s capture and bail hearings. Take advantage of every single service that you’re offered because it will make the coming days and weeks easier.
Just remember that nothing about what happened to you was your fault. The person who attacked you was a monster and a predator. Nothing you said or did caused it in any way. Just report it and preserve the evidence so that the attacker will pay for what they did. They’re the bad guy here.