Sexual Misconduct: Unwanted Sexual Behavior
If You've Been Assaulted or Experienced Sexual Misconduct
What do I do first?
- Get to a safe place. This includes physical and emotional safety.
- Contact someone you trust, a friend, family member, your resident or community assistant, so they can help and support you.
- It is important to seek immediate medical care, so you can be treated for any injuries and to be tested for pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. You may choose to go to the Rape Crisis Center at Episcopal hospital. They have staff who are specially trained to provide medical attention in cases of sexual assault and can collect medical evidence.
- Medical evidence needs to be collected within 72 hours of an assault in case you later decide to press charges. While you may not know now whether you want to prosecute, it is best to have the evidence collected, to keep your options open. You can always decide later whether you want to use the evidence.
- Avoid showering, bathing, douching, or cleaning up in any way (this will preserve valuable evidence you will need if you decide to prosecute), though evidence can still be collected even if you have cleaned up. If you are still wearing the clothes you had on during the assault, take a change of clothing with you to the hospital, as your clothes may be needed as evidence. If you have changed, the hospital will want the clothes you were wearing. Be cautious not to transport them in plastic bags or containers—to preserve the evidence, use clean paper bags, clean sheets, or a clean pillowcase to wrap your items.
- You can also go to your private doctor or to the Student Health Center.
Both of these options will provide valuable medical care for you but cannot
collect evidence should you later decide to prosecute.
Who else can I contact?
- The Student Counseling Center can provide confidential emotional support (215.951.1355).
- The Student Health Center can offer medical advice and support (215.951.1565).
- Safety and Security can help you with transportation to the Rape Crisis Center at Episcopal hospital and provide additional assistance (215.951.2111).
Would it help for me to get emotional support?
It is important to take care of yourself. Being sexually assaulted, raped,
exploited, or harassed is a trauma. Counseling is
helpful in assisting you in sorting out your feelings, taking back control
of your life, and helping you with future decisions. And, you can also seek
out friends, family, and survivor support groups to help you process your
feelings and anger.
"So often, we believe that we have come to a place that is void of hope and void of possibilities, only to find that it is the very hopelessness that allows us to hit bottom, give up our illusion of control, turn it over, and ask for help. Out of the ashes of our hopelessness comes the fire of our hope."
- Anne Wilson Shaef, PhD.