What to do When Assaulted
Remember that you are not alone and help is available.
If you are in danger or need immediate medical care – CALL 911. If possible, quickly get to a safe place. You can go to an emergency room or SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Exam) program. In most cases, no one should call the police without asking for your permission. There are some important steps you can take right away:
- If you are unsure of what happened, your options, or what you want to do – call the Helpline at 443-279-0379.
- As hard as it may be, avoid washing, cleaning your body, combing your hair, brushing your teeth, eating, drinking or smoking. If possible, avoid using the bathroom. This will help preserve evidence. Regardless, you may still have evidence collected for 5-7 days, or even longer, after the assault.
- Resist the urge to clean up the scene of the assault; again evidence may be collected. You may collect your clothing and place in a paper (not plastic) bag, and bring this to the SAFE with you.
- You do not have to decide whether or not to make a report to police right away. You can have an “anonymous” forensic evidence exam, which will be held for a certain period of time. Ask how long – every jurisdiction and program is different.
- You can also receive medical treatment, forensic evidence collection, and medicines to prevent sexually transmitted diseases at no cost to you. If you believe you were drugged, talk to the medical staff about testing. This often has to be done within a limited time frame.
- Ask to have an advocate present at the ER/SAFE.
- Reach out for help, to trusted friends, family members or crisis center. Call our Helpline at (443) 279-0379 to talk to someone about free services, including counseling and advocacy (see Get Help).
- If you decide to make a police report, let the medical staff, advocate, or TurnAround know, and you will be offered assistance.