What to Do If Raped or Sexually Assaulted
Although reporting a rape or sexual assault may be frightening, the action must be taken since rape and sexual assault are considered serious crimes and seeking treatment can help you with any injuries you may have. It also gives you the opportunity to report the crime to the police and provide access to counseling.
Steps to Take After the RapeThe first action to take from a rape or sexually assaulted experience is to run away from your attacker as far as possible into a safe space and immediately dial 911 for help. Otherwise, you should call or contact a parent or trusted adult and explain the specifics of the situation. They should help you figure out what to do next and give you support. At any time, you can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-HOPE.
Some other steps you may take right after a rape:
- Do not bathe, shower, comb or brush your hair, or change your clothes as evidence can be collected that way.
- Get a medical exam for blood tests and many more to test for any serious internal/external injuries or possible diseases (such as STD).
- For women, taking prescribed morning-after emergency contraceptives that contain progestin-only can prevent pregnancy.
- STDs such as syphilis and gonorrhea can be treated right away by giving you the Hepatitis B vaccine (only if you are not already vaccinated).
- HIV can be tested or addressed.
- Consider getting counseling. Remember that the information you tell to the medical personnel about you and the rape is protected by the United States Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Back to top
Reviewed by Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
Below are sources PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF, however, does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).
Fisher BS, Cullen FT, Turner MG. The Sexual Victimization of College Women. Washington (DC): U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice: 2000. Publication No. NCJ 182369
Catalano, Shannan M. Bureau of Justice Statistics: National Crime Victimization Survey. Washington (DC): U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Program 2004. Publication No. NCJ 205455
After Rape, Getting a Medical Exam is Essential About.com Women's Health.