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Survivors > Sexual Violence > What to do if youve been Sexually Assaulted

Immediate steps to take

- Get away from the attacker to a safe place as fast as you can.

- Call a friend or family member you trust. You also can call a crisis center and talk with a counselor. Feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are normal. Those who have been sexually assaulted often have feelings of self-blame. It is important for you to remember that the violence you were subjected to is not your fault. You have done everything in your power to protect yourself.

- Even though you may feel dirty and want to wash yourself, it is important to - 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 and treated for any injuries you may have. Ask to be screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and for emergency contraception to help prevent pregnancy (depending on the nature of assault that has occurred). The doctor may collect evidence to find fibers, hairs, saliva, semen, or clothing that the attacker may have left behind. You do not have to do any part of this evaluation that you do not want to do.

- You or the hospital staff can call the police from the emergency room to file a report.

- You should seek medical care, even if some time has lapsed since the event or there is scant or no evidence for collection. A healthcare provider can offer advice on reporting the event, address concerns regarding infection, pregnancy, and safety, and help you to begin to recover.
     

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