Deciding to get help is a personal decision that belongs to the survivor alone. A person who has been sexually assaulted has already endured a lot and often the thought of talking to someone or seeking medical attention can be overwhelming. It is important to keep in mind however, that there are some recommended actions a survivor can take that can be beneficial in the future:
- Believe in yourself: Know that when you are forced to have any form of sexual contact without your consent, it is not your fault.
- Find a safe environment- anywhere away from the attacker: Contact someone immediately. Go to this person's house, apartment or dorm, or have them go to where you are. Ask someone you trust to stay with you for support.
- Seek medical attention immediately: Do not change your clothes, bath, or brush your teeth. If possible, refrain from using the bathroom. These steps can help to preserve evidence if you choose to make a police report. Even with no visible injuries, it is important to determine if internal injuries were sustained (such as tearing or bruising), and to weigh the risks of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Prevention medication can be provided if the circumstances are appropriate. In order to preserve any forensic evidence, ask the nurse, doctor, and/or advocate to explain what the forensic rap kit is, how it is performed, what the process is once it is completed, and the benefits of the procedure. If there was no penetration, you may still have the kit completed to obtain evidence elsewhere on your body.
- If you suspect you may have been drugged, report this immediately to hospital staff. The window period to collect evidence of drugs (either through a urine or blood sample) is extremely short. The sample will be analyzed then.
What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?
- Get to a safe location. If you are unsure where to go or can think of nowhere that is safe for you at this time, please consider calling Heidelberg Campus Security (419-448-2211)
- You may choose to file a report with Heidelberg Campus and Safety or with the Tiffin Police Department (419-447-2323). Reporting the attack does not require that you file criminal charges, but rather, it puts in place support systems that you may choose to use.
- You can also file a complaint through the university Title IX process.
- Consider asking a trusted friend or relative to be with you for support.
- Seek medical care as soon as possible. You may need to receive basic medical treatment for injuries, and you may have injuries of which you are not aware at this time. You also may be at risk of acquiring a sexual transmitted infection (and women may also be at risk for pregnancy). Staff at Stoner Health & Counseling Center can speak with you about all of the medical options available at this time. If you need medical assistance after hours the local emergency room is also able to assist.
- Preserve all the evidence of the attack. If you choose to file a report with the Tiffin Police Department, it is important that you:
- Do not bathe, wash your hands, brush your teeth, drink, eat, or even use the restroom- all these things can destroy evidence that may be helpful in a criminal investigation; however, if you have done any of these things since the attack, evidence can still be collected.
- Do not clean or remove anything from the location where the attack occurred.
- Write down as much as you can recall about the attack and the perpetrator.
- Please seek some form of emotional support. While taking care of your physical needs may be the first step in taking care of yourself, it is important not to neglect the emotions you may be experiencing as a result of the assault. Stoner Health & Counseling Center offers counseling services by trained clinicians that can assist students with recovery and healing.
- It is your choice to determine when and in what matter you recover from your trauma. Give yourself the time you need and know that it is never too late to get help.
- Know that what happened was not your fault!
*Please note the following regarding reporting*
The University will not tolerate retaliation against any person making a complaint of sex discrimination or against any person cooperating in the investigation of alleged acts of sex discrimination. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, intimidation, threats, or harassment against any Complainant or third party. Individuals who are alleged to engage in retaliatory tactics may face disciplinary action independent of the sanction or interim measures imposed in response to the underlying allegations of sex discrimination. Any acts of retaliation should be reported promptly to the Title IX coordinator.
Amnesty for Those Who Report Sex Discrimination
The University encourages reporting and seeks to remove any barriers to reporting by making the procedures for reporting transparent and straightforward. The University recognizes that an individual who has been drinking alcohol or using drugs at the time of an act of sex discrimination may be hesitant to make a report because of potential consequences for his/her/their own conduct. An individual who reports sex discrimination, either as a Complainant or a third party witness, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the University for his/her/their own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident, provided that any such violations did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. The University may, however, initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational remedies regarding alcohol or other drugs.