What to do after sexual assault

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the United States, someone in our country is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds. Even more shocking, the majority of the perpetrators get away with the sexual assault and re-offend.

victim of sexual assault

If you or a loved one is the victim of a sexual assault, consider these important steps:

  1. Get to a safe place and away from the abuser as quickly as possible. Go to the hospital if you’re injured.
  2. Call 9-1-1 to file a police report.
  3. Contact a local or nationwide sexual assault hotline.
  4. Report to the nearest hospital or police station and request a sexual assault forensic exam (also known as a rape kit).
  5. Preserve evidence of the sexual assault, including DNA and clothing.
  6. Seek medical or mental health treatment as needed.
  7. Speak with a sexual assault attorney.

In the minutes, hours, and days after a sexual assault, most victims feel confused, scared, vulnerable, and unclean. Understandably, victims often want to disassociate from the assault, which they accomplish by bathing or showering, washing or destroying the clothing they were wearing or acting as if the assault never happened.

shaking hands with a female doctor for rape kit test

How to strengthen the case against your abuser

While these reactions are normal, it’s best to hold onto anything that could be used as evidence against the abuser, and the sooner the evidence can be preserved, the stronger the case against the abuser will be. Similarly, reporting the abuse to the police as soon as possible ensures that a report will contain detailed and accurate information. This could prevent the abuser from committing additional sexual assaults and cause them to face sexual assault charges.

Oftentimes the victim and the abuser are the only witnesses to the sexual assault, so it’s not uncommon for a trial to depend solely on the eyewitness testimony of only two people. However, DNA evidence—whether from clothing or as the result of a forensic exam—and a statement or report made close in time to the sexual assault, will typically strengthen the case. This is true for both criminal and civil cases.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, you don’t have to face your abuser alone. A sexual assault lawyer can help you. Call Allen & Allen today at 866-378-2724 for a free and confidential consultation.