If You Need Help Where Do I Begin?
There are many resources on campus and in the community to help individuals who believe they have been sexually assaulted or have been accused of sexually assaulting an individual. Start somewhere--It doesn't matter where. You choose; but if there is physical or emotional trauma, the first stop should be either Student Health, University Counseling Center, or Project Horizon.
- Go to a safe place.
- Tell someone you trust--a friend can help support you.
- Get medical/psychological care. There is a counselor and a physician available 24 hours a day to help you explore your options, get necessary care, and stay safe. Contact the Student Health Center at (540) 458-8401.
- A University Counselor or Project Horizon can assist you to determine what's best for you and be with you throughout the decision making process, with the goal of helping you to regain control and make decisions you are comfortable with.
- Counselors and physicians will all protect your privacy and help you learn and understand your options (e.g. legal or on-campus judicial recourse).
- Save evidence in case you select the option of legal action. Evidence is best collected within the first 72 hours of the assault. It is important that you do not shower, eat, drink or change your clothes before evidence is collected. Doing so may destroy important physical evidence that could be used if you decide to prosecute the assailant.
- Get medical attention at the Student Health Center or hospital emergency room right away. Even if you don't want to report the assault to the police, you may have injuries that need to be treated.
- Medical care can also help you to take precautions to treat sexually transmitted infections or to prevent pregnancy, if indicated. Also, physical evidence may exist up to 72 hours after the assault (24 hours for oral or anal penetration).
- Request that the hospital take a urine sample for drug toxicology testing to be done by your law enforcement agency's crime lab if you suspect you may have been drugged. A special test must be conducted to detect rohypnol or other "date rape" drugs in a urine sample.
The Time Period After A Sexual Assault Can Be Very Confusing:
- You do not have to deal with this alone.
- There are no right or wrong answers.
- Remember: it is not your fault.
- As soon as you have a quiet moment where you feel safe, try to write down everything that you remember happening, with as much detail as possible. This will help in the healing process, identifying the assailant, and in any legal action that may be taken.
- All decisions about how to proceed belong to you--you have many resources to help you.