Sexual Assault: Your Course of Action
Sexual violence is any sexual act where consent is not given; this includes unwanted sexual contact, verbal sexual harassment, and rape. 1 in 6 American women are victims of sexual assault. Although women are more likely to be sexually assaulted, men can also be victims. The likelihood of sexual assault increases among college students; 1 in 5 female freshmen are victims of attempted or completed rape. Take action against sexual assault by learning how you can bring about change and what you need to do post-assault. Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault, and there is help available.
The most effective prevention strategies involve changing social norms to promote safety and respect. We all can create a safer environment by understanding sexual violence and intervening in problematic situations. Our community can take a stand against sexual assault by creating policies that address accountability and promote respectful behavior. We can assess our environment and make changes to reduce the risk of assault. Every person plays a role in the solution, whether by setting examples of appropriate behavior in relationships or providing education.
If you are seriously injured or in danger, call 911. Otherwise, get yourself to a safe place. Visit your nearest emergency center, and do not shower or change clothes. Feel free to bring a change of clothes with you. Along with receiving emergency medical attention, you can also have a sexual assault forensic exam, also known as a “rape kit,” performed. This will collect DNA evidence to identify the perpetrator and can be used as evidence in a court of law if you wish to press charges in the future.
Your healthcare provider will determine what treatment options are best for you and if you need any further tests performed. After receiving medical care, you can report the assault to law enforcement.
If you are a victim of sexual assault, contact the free, secure, and confidential National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. Baylor St. Luke’s Emergency Centers are open 24/7 to provide help for sexual assault victims and other medical emergencies.