What to do if you have been sexually assaulted

Immediately after the assault:

If the incident occurred within the last 24 to 120 hours: 

  • Get to a safe place as soon as you can and ask someone you trust to stay with you.
  • Contact someone who can help you: a friend, the police (911), or other campus and community agencies. 
  • Avoid showering, drinking, eating, douching, or changing your clothes if possible. These activities may alter physical evidence in the event that you decide to prosecute the assailant. 
  • Get medical attention. You may have hidden injuries and may want to explore options for preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. 
  • Write down everything that you remember happening, with as much detail as possible. This can help with your own healing process and in any legal action you might decide to take. This may include a physical description of the perpetrator, their identity if you know it, and the use of threats or force.
  • Consider requesting a SART (Suspected Abuse Response Team) Exam. Even if you may not be ready to file a report, collecting the evidence can be crucial in a future case. You may also request a Restricted SART, where law enforcement is not involved. 
    • The SART team provides medical care for sexual assault victims. Even if you think that you do not have any physical injuries, it's important to get medical care to discuss STIs, date rape drugs, and evidence collection. The SART office can also be contacted directly at 805-781-4878 or after hours 805-781-4550.

Additional options:

  • Get in touch with an advocate that can provide guidance and emotional support:
    • Safer: Confidential university support. 805-756-2282 or safer@calpoly.edu. Safer crisis counselors can serve as your advocate and accompany you to a SART or law enforcement interview, as well as provide emotional support.
    • RISE: Confidential 24 hour support. 855-886-RISE (7473). After hours, RISE can also provide an advocate.
  • Try to preserve all evidence of the assault. Avoid drinking, bathing, showering, douching, brushing your teeth, or changing your clothes. Evidence can be collected at an emergency room and you can decide later whether or not you want to press criminal charges.
  • If you think you were drugged or consumed a sedative-like substance, ask the medical provider to take a urine sample. Date Rape Drugs like GHB and Rohypnol are more likely to be detected in urine than in blood. If you still have remnants of the drink, save them for analysis.

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