If You’ve Been Sexually Assaulted
If you are the victim of an assault, here’s what to do:
1) Get to a safe place as soon as possible. Your immediate safety is first.
2) Call our rape crisis hotline at (707) 545-7273 to speak confidentially with a victim advocate, in English or Spanish.
3) Call a friend, family member, or anyone you trust for support.
4) Call the police. Reporting the assault to the police is a matter of choice. It’s entirely up to you. If you are undecided, please consider having the exam done to collect the evidence (evidence should be collected within 72 hours) and receive the medical attention you deserve.
You can choose how much you want to cooperate with law enforcement throughout the entire process.
5) You should also get immediate medical attention. Medical care is important to protect you from sexually transmitted diseases and to attend to any injuries.
We understand that the ordeal you have experienced can be very traumatizing. While it may be difficult, we recommend doing the following if possible to preserve the evidence of your assault:
- Do not bathe, shower, or wash any body parts involved
- Do not brush your teeth, smoke, eat or drink
- Do not change your clothes
- Do not erase voicemails, emails, texts or other types of communication between you and your attacker
Do take photos of any bruises or injuries that may fade quickly. Take a change of clothes with you to the hospital as well. The clothes you are in may be used as evidence.
You Have Rights
As the victim of sexual assault, you have the right to:
- Be treated with dignity, courtesy, and respect
- Determine whether to report the crime to the police
- Ask for a female police officer if you choose to report
- Demand privacy when meeting with a counselor or a police officer
- Have a personal support person present during interviews
- Locate an attorney to represent you
- Sue the rapist in civil court for monetary compensation
- Refuse to have evidence collected
- Be offered a sexual assault counselor/victim advocate to accompany you to medical, law enforcement, and legal proceedings
- Be considered a rape victim/survivor regardless of the rapist’s relationship to you
- Not be judged because of race, age, class, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities or occupation
- Ask any questions about tests, exams, medications, treatment, or police reports
- Voice complaints and expect to have your complaints heard and accepted
Make sure you understand any forms you are asked to sign. Ask about any necessary follow-up care and testing your doctors recommend.
It’s Not Your Fault
You are not at fault for what happened. You did not deserve it. You are alive, you have survived, and now is the time to begin the process of recovery. Reaching out and accepting support is part of the healing process.
Getting back to normal can take a long time and you may be wondering if there is anyone who can help. Many survivors have found it helpful to talk to rape crisis counselors. We’re here to help you anytime, day or night, every day of the year.
Our rape crisis intervention line is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.
We encourage our clients back into their lives by recognizing sexual assault as trauma, which is something that we all, as humans, can relate to.
If you need immediate help with a crisis, call our 24 hour crisis support line at (707) 545-7273. To send us an email, please fill out the adjacent form and we’ll respond to you as quickly as we are able. Our typical response time is within two business days.
We welcome questions and feedback from our community, and look forward to speaking with you.