What To Do If You’re Sexually Assaulted

Take Action When Going Out:

  • Go out in groups and stay in public places.
  • Have a plan for leaving and getting home.  Bring extra money for a bus or cab.  Know who you can call for help or a ride.
  • Don’t drink from open containers or leave your drink unattended.  Be knowledgeable about drug facilitated sexual assault.
  • Don’t make sexual decisions while using drugs or alcohol, decisions are affected when using drugs or alcohol.
  • Tell someone about your plans.
  • Be honest about what you want and don’t want sexually.  Set limits and don’t worry about being polite or hurting someone’s feelings.
  • If someone is trying to force you to have sex, use the word “Rape”.  Most rapists don’t believe what they’re doing is rape.
  • If you feel uncomfortable, lie; “My friends will be right back”, “Someone is expecting me.”, “I’m sick.”, “Everyone saw us together.”
  • Don’t give out personal information to someone you just met.
  • Be aware of what is going on around you and the behaviors of others.

If you believe that you are the victim of sexual abuse:

  1. Get to a safe place.
  2. Try not to bathe, shower, eat, drink, brush your teeth or go to the bathroom before going to the emergency room. Valuable evidence remains on your body and clothes. Even if you have showered, brushed your teeth, etc., please seek medical care in the emergency department.
  3. Try not to change your clothes (if you already have, put your clothes in a clean paper bag and bring them with you to the emergency department). Bring a change of clothing if you can.
  4. Seek medical attention in the emergency department.
  5. If within Allegheny County, you can request that the hospital staff contact a PAAR medical advocate at 1-866-END-RAPE (1-866-363-7273). This is a free and confidential service. If not in Allegheny County, you can have a hospital staff person contact the nearest rape crisis center.
  6. If you are concerned about pregnancy, emergency contraception may be an available option. Talk to your health care provider.
  7. Please be aware that hospital staff will likely report your assault to the police. It is up to you if you would like to talk to the officer or not. If you decide to make a police report, the sooner you report the better.
  8. As a victim, you may be eligible for reimbursement for certain out-of-pocket expenses from the Pennsylvania Victims Compensation program. Contact PAAR for additional information.
  9. Please call us. No matter what you decide to do, you have done your very best. Contact PAAR at 1-866-END-RAPE (1-866-363-7273).
for more information.
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