What is sexual assault?
A sexual assault occurs when a person experiences a sexual act or acts against their will. If someone is too intoxicated to consent, the act is still sexual assault. Sexual assault can be called a number of things (e.g. rape, incest, molestation, etc.), depending on what occurred and who is defining it. It's important to acknowledge that experiencing a sexual assault is not your fault.
What should I do if I've been sexually assaulted?
Get to a safe place and consider your next step. If the assault happened recently, you may be making decisions about who to tell, and struggling with your medical and legal decisions. Some options include: calling the police (9-1-1), going to the hospital, telling a friend or support person and/or calling the 24 Hour Helpline (tel:614-267-7020).
Who can I talk to about this?
To get information about your options and support with taking needed steps, contact the Sexual Violence Education and Support area of the Student Advocacy Center (tel:614-292-1111) and ask for an advocate or call the 24 hour helpline (tel:614-267-7020 or tel:800-934-9840), Ohio Domestic Violence Network. An advocate will return your call and speak with you over the phone or arrange to meet in person. You can also call the Counseling & Consultation Service (tel:614-292-5766) during business hours and ask to speak with first available therapist.
Where to Go For Help:
For more information, check out the Sexual Violence Education and Support website through the Student Wellness Center. You can also find more information on the following topics:
- Common reactions
- Healing after a sexual assault
- If someone you know has been raped
- Law enforcement information
- Information on Medical Exams
- Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) 24/7 Rape Crisis Hotline & Advocacy Services: tel:614-267-7020
- FIRSTLINK (24-hour information and referral service): tel:614-221-2255
Where can I get a medical examination?
A medical examination can occur at the Student Health Center, a doctor's office, hospital emergency department or health clinic. However, a hospital emergency department is the location where both an advocate can be called and evidence can be collected. An advocate is a trained volunteer who can provide information and support. At the Student Health Center and hospital emergency department, emergency contraceptives and sexually transmitted infection prevention medication are available.
Do I have to get a medical examination to press charges?
The first 72 hours following an assault is the best time for evidence to be collected. It is easier to investigate and prosecute cases that have physical evidence, but it is possible to go forward without it. You can file a report or ask police to pursue charges even if you haven't had evidence collected. In general, sex offenses have a twenty year statute of limitations.
What should I bring to the medical examination?
If you're thinking of getting evidence collected, avoid bathing or cleaning yourself up, if possible. Take the clothes that you were wearing at the time of the assault to the hospital with you. If you can, avoid eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom. However, a lot of people do all of these things before going to the hospital and evidence can still be collected.
What if it's been longer than 72 hours?
If you want to report what happened but it's been longer than 72 hours, you can call the police where you live (e.g. OSU police or Columbus Police) and ask to speak with a detective who can provide you with information about your options. You can also call the 24 Hour Helpline and speak with the person on the Helpline or pick the "Campus Advocate" option. A campus advocate will return your call.
If the assault happened a while ago, you may still access support for yourself. Many people experience a sexual assault before coming to college. There is no "right way" to handle an assault. Whenever you're ready to talk is the right time for you.
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