sexual assault: how to get help
It's never too late to get help. Talk to someone who understands what you're going through. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE or visit online.rainn.org to chat with a RAINN staff member.
Free, confidential, 24/7.
Monday and Tuesday's two-part episode of The Ricki Lake Show not only portrays the courage and strength of women who's experienced one of the most traumatic events imaginable, but is an opportunity for us to reach out to those who may have been through similar experiences and feel they have nowhere to turn. Our friends at RAINN have helped us compile a list of resources for victims and their friends/family.
While you can never completely protect yourself from sexual assault, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of being assaulted.
• Go with your gut. If you feel unsafe, or even uncomfortable, in any situation, trust your instincts and leave. Don’t worry about what others may think.
• Make people earn your trust. Just because a person knows your friends, or spends time at your favorite hangouts doesn’t mean they’ll look out for your best interests. Get to know people first and then decide whether to trust them.
• Be true to yourself. If someone is pressuring you, it’s better to lie and make up an excuse to leave than to stay and be uncomfortable, scared, or worse. Your safety comes before someone else's feelings or what they may think of you.
• Lie. If you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings it is better to lie and make up a reason to leave than to stay and be uncomfortable, scared, or worse. Some excuses you could use are: needing to take care of a friend or family member, not feeling well, having somewhere else that you need to be, etc.
• Try to think of an escape route. How would you try to get out of the room? Where are the doors? Windows? Are there people around who might be able to help you? Is there an emergency phone nearby?
How to Support a Loved One [from RAINN.org]
-- Listen. Be there. Don’t be judgmental.
-- Be patient. Remember, it will take your loved one some time to deal with the crime.
-- Help to empower your loved one. Rape and sexual violence are crimes that take away an individual’s power, it is important not to compound this experience by putting pressure on your loved one to do things that he or she is not ready to do yet.
Join RAINN in the fight against sexual violence! Visit RAINN.org to get involved or donate.
What to Do if You've Been Sexually Assaulted [Read the complete article at RAINN.org]
• Find a safe location away from the perpetrator. Ask a trusted friend to be with you for moral support.
• Know that what happened was not your fault.
• Preserve all evidence of the attack.
-- Do not bathe, wash your hands, brush your teeth, eat, or smoke.
-- If you are still in the location at which the crime occurred, do not clean or straighten up or remove anything.
-- Write down all the details you can recall about the attack and the perpetrator.
• Report the attack to law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.)
For more information, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE or online.rainn.org). A counselor can help you understand the reporting process.
• Seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if you do not have any visible physical injuries, you may be at risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease (women may also be at risk for pregnancy).
-- To find a local hospital or healthcare facility that is equipped to collect forensic evidence, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE). The hotline will connect you to your local crisis center, which can provide information on the nearest medical facility, and in some instances, send an advocate to accompany you through the evidence collection process.
-- Ask the health care professional to conduct a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE).
-- If you suspect you have been drugged, request that a urine sample be collected to preserve evidence.
• Recognize that healing from an attack takes time. Give yourself the time you need and know that it is never too late to get help.
For free, confidential help 24/7, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE or online.rainn.org).