What To Do
If you are the victim of rape or sexual assault
- Do not shower, wash or douche. This may remove valuable evidence that can link the offender to the crime.
- Call the police. They will transport you to an area hospital for a rape exam.
- Go to the hospital. Bring a change of clothes, as the police may want to hold your clothes as evidence. At the hospital a doctor, or a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) will examine you and collect evidence for possible prosecution of the case. You may be given medication to prevent sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy.
- If the hospital has not notified DCWAR by the time you arrive, you can request a call. A trained counselor will come immediately to be with you at the hospital, 24 hours a day. If you have not called the police, the hospital may notify them and they may interview at the hospital. The police will take a report, but you do not have to decide about prosecuting at this time.
- Remember to make an appointment for a follow-up medical exam, as directed by the doctor at the hospital.
- Even if you did not go to the hospital or report the assault to the police immediately, you may still do so. In addition, you may benefit from counseling services available from DCWAR. It is never too late to call; we have provided services years later.
Common Reactions to Rape and Sexual Assault
Victims of sexual assault react in many different ways. Some common reactions are shock, fear, numbness, confusion, denial, self-blame, embarrassment, and helplessness.
It is also common to experience nightmares, anxiety, eating or sleep disturbances, mood swings, depression, headaches, fatigue, and social withdrawal.
These emotional reactions are part of the normal response to a traumatic event. After a sexual assault it is important to have understanding and emotional support. Family, friends, and a DCWAR counselor or support group can help you to cope with the crisis.
If you would like to discuss any of these feelings or reactions, please feel free to call our hotline and speak with a counselor. Handling these strong emotions is the first step toward healing.
Above all, you should remember that if you are a victim of sexual assault -
It Is Not Your Fault!
No one asks to be sexually assaulted.
No one deserves to be sexually assaulted.
No one should face the trauma of sexual assault alone.
DCWAR provides trained counselors who will listen and support you.