What To Do If You’ve Been Sexually Assaulted

Sexual assault and abuse are, unfortunately, widespread throughout the United States. In fact, there are more than 430,000 sexual assault and rape incidents involving people over 12-years-old every single year (RAINN.org). Also, there are about 60,000 cases of sexual assault or abuse that involve children under the age of 12 annually (RAINN.org). And, to make matters even worse, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), nearly one out of every five women in the U.S. faces rape or sexually assault at some point throughout their lives.

As you can see, it’s an unfortunate fact that sexual assault and abuse are inordinately common in the United States. And, since they’re such a regrettable norm in modern American society, the attorneys here at Cutter Law P.C. thought it would be a good idea to provide our clients with an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide on what to do if you’ve been sexually assaulted. That guide–which we sincerely hope you never have to use–is as follows:

  • 1 – Remember that it’s not your fault
  • 2 – Take steps to ensure your personal safety
  • 3 – Don’t change your clothes, your appearance, or bathe until after you’ve sought medical attention
  • 4 – Seek medical attention
  • 5 – Contact our sexual assault attorneys for a no-obligation consultation

Okay, those steps seem a little vague when listed out like that. So, to clear things up a little, let’s talk about each step in a bit more detail.

Step 1 – Remember, It’s Not Your Fault

Before you do anything else after surviving sexual assault or abuse is to remember that it’s not your fault. You didn’t do anything to deserve what happened to you. Again, being the victim of sexual assault or abuse is never your fault. It’s your attacker’s fault. Never, under any circumstances, blame yourself or try to take responsibility for something you didn’t do, especially if that something is surviving sexual abuse or assault.

That’s it. Remembering that it’s not your fault is all there is to step one in our guide on what to do if you’ve been sexually assaulted. Now that you’ve made sure you remember that what happened wasn’t your fault, let’s move on to step two.

Step 2 – Take Steps To Ensure Your Safety

Okay, you know what happened wasn’t your fault. Now, it’s time to get somewhere safe. Even if your attack happened at home, get out of there. Find a friend, family member, or trusted loved one and get there as quickly and safely as possible. Tell that person (or persons) what happened and consider contacting the police to report the incident. Remember, you don’t have to call the police now, but it can help if you can manage it.

However, if you’re in immediate danger, or if you’ve suffered serious injuries, then call 911 right away. Tell the dispatcher your name, where you are, and what happened so they can dispatch the appropriate emergency services.

Step 3 – Don’t Change Your Clothes Or Appearance (Until You’ve Visited A Doctor Or Nurse)

Once you’re safe, it can be incredibly tempting to jump in the hottest shower available and wash away your emotions. However, if you can, try not to do that. Also, try not to change your clothes or change anything about your appearance. Why not? Because “it’s important that the doctor or nurse you visit can collect any evidence that might be on your body” (Planned Parenthood). You should also avoid using the restroom, combing/brushing your hair, eating, smoking, drinking, or taking any drugs. Doing any of the previously mentioned things can destroy evidence that could help put your attacker away.

Step 4 – Seek Medical Attention

Step four in our guide on what to do if you’ve been sexually assaulted is to seek medical attention. Even if you’re uninjured, you may want a rape kit performed to collect evidence for your case. You should also get screened for a variety of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, Syphilis, and others. And, if there’s a chance you could be pregnant, then consider the morning-after pill (emergency contraception) to prevent unwanted childbirth.

Okay, that all sounds scary. But, medical professionals are trained to handle these types of situations with care and tact. Don’t be afraid to seek medical attention after suffering from sexual abuse, assault, or rape.

Step 5 – Contact Our Sexual Assault Attorneys

Once you’ve sought medical attention, the next step in our guide on what to do if you’ve been sexually assaulted is to contact our team of sexual assault attorneys. Even if you’re unsure if you have a case, give us a call for a consultation. We understand how difficult it can be to come forward with a sexual assault case. Doing so often feels like admitting that something horrific happened to you. But, our attorneys are caring, well-educated, patient, and always standing by to represent you in a court of law.

We’ve won several awards for our legal services, and have won millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. So, if you’ve suffered sexual assault or abuse, then we can help. Contact the team of sexual assault lawyers here at Cutter Law P.C. for a no-obligation consultation today.

Personal injury and civil justice attorney Brooks Cutter is a leading advocate for consumer justice and protecting the rights of the severely injured. Brooks founded Cutter Law, P.C., with offices in Sacramento and Oakland, with…
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