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Survivor Advocacy Services

What to Do After a Sexual Assault

It’s hard to know what to do, how to feel, or what your options are after a sexual assault. Please know that you’re not alone and you are NEVER to blame. Below you will find recommended actions immediately following a sexual assault.

Safety First

Locate a safe place away from the perpetrator and out of danger. If you're injured, go straight to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Support

There are free and confidential Victim Advocates (also called Survivor Advocates) that can assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Advocates are certified sexual assault counselors. They can provide you support by phone or in person. Advocates can provide you information on how to report to police and Title IX. They can go with you to a sexual assault forensic exam, to speak with police, and to court hearings. Advocates can provide a safe place to talk, to process what you are going through, provide you the information you need to make informed decisions, and support you in your chaos. You have the right to work with more than one advocate. 

Fresno State's Survivor Advocates can be reached at 559.278.6796 or survivoradvocate@mail.fresnostate.edu. They normally work Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They serve students, staff, and faculty at Fresno State. 

RCS Fresno is Fresno County's rape crisis center for the community. Their advocates work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are a free and confidential service. They can be reached at their 24 hour hotline at 559.222.7273. 

National Sexual Assault Hotline is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can provide phone support and connect you with an advocate in your area. Their 24 hour hotline is 1.800.656.4673.

Evidence Collection

Preferably, the evidence should be collected within 72 hrs of the assault, although the earlier the evidence is collected the better. Please note, evidence can be collected up to 5 days after the assault.

If you are considering reporting to the police (whether now or at any time in the future) an evidentiary exam (rape kit) is strongly recommended .Do not shower, bathe, douche, urinate, brush your teeth or change your clothes if you have been sexually assaulted. I know this is very difficult to do but it will preserve evidence to be used later on if you decide to file a police report and press charges.

If you have been the victim of forced oral sex, please do not eat, drink or smoke, again to preserve evidence.

If you must change your clothes, please put each article of clothing in a separate PAPER Bag. Do not put the items of clothing in a plastic bag as it could contaminate the evidence.

If you have to urinate, try to capture the urine in a container to be used for evidence testing. I realize this is difficult, but testing urine is the best way to discover whether or not you were given a date rape such as Rohypnol, GHB, Ketamine, or Valium, as these drugs quickly pass through the body.

If the assault took place in your place of residence, please do not touch anything and leave the scene as it is

If you would like to have evidence collected to possibly pursue a criminal complaint in the future, you can go to:

  • Forensic Nurse Specialists of Central CA (FNSCC, 559.324.9100) or
  • Community Regional Medical Center (CRMC, 559.459.6000).

Medical Follow Up

Whether or not you choose or are able to have a forensic exam, these are some things to keep in mind for your health:

Remember

The assault is NOT your fault. You are not to blame regardless of the circumstances surrounding the sexual assault, even if:

  • You were drinking, had drunk too much, or used drugs prior to the assault
  • If you were on a date or the attacker was a friend, classmate, current or former partner or spouse
  • If you have been sexually intimate with the perpetrator or others prior to the assault
  • If you had sex with the perpetrator the day , week or month before the assault
  • If you were unable to fight back or say “no”