If you have been sexually assaulted...
First...Get to a safe place.
Second...Call the police, a sexual assault crisis center, or a friend.
Third...Seek medical attention.
- Try not to change your clothes, bathe, douche, or wash away any evidence.
- Go to the nearest hospital emergency room to be examined, have injuries treated and have medical and legal evidence collected. Bring a change of clothes with you. Any clothes worn at the time of the assault may be collected as evidence.
A Forensic Sexual Assault Medical Exam is available at any New Hampshire emergency room within five days of the assault. If you are afraid to go to the hospital alone, an advocate from your local crisis center can meet you there. The hospital will also contact a crisis center to have an advocate meet you at the hospital, if you haven't already done so. The hospital will also contact the police, but you are not required to talk to an officer unless you want to.
If you suspect you were assaulted with the aid of drugs which can render you unconscious and leave you with no memory of the attack or the perpetrator, be sure to tell the emergency room staff. They can test your blood and urine for traces of these drugs, which can be slipped into a drink and are generally tasteless, odorless and colorless. Symptoms of these drugs include feeling more intoxicated than you normally do when drinking the same amount of alcohol, waking up with memory lapses and feeling as though someone had sexual contact with you, but not being able to remember any or all of the incident.
If, for any reason, you choose not to contact police or go to an emergency room, Turning Points Network is still here to help and support you. Confidential support and information are available 24 hours a day. Advocates are available to talk to anyone who has been affected by sexual violence and abuse. If you are a minor (under the age of 18), the hospital is mandated to report your assault. The police will want to speak with you. If you have questions about this, you can always call TPN anonymously.
Hope and Healing
What happened to you never should have. You did not deserve it and it was not your fault. If you are struggling with what happened, you are not alone. Many survivors have been where you are now, and have found ways to feel better. Here are a few suggestions.
- Talk about it with someone you trust. Some survivors find that simply telling their story and talking about their experience helps. Talk to someone you trust-- a family member, a friend, or a professional. Advocates at Turning Points Network are great listeners and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Exercise. Staying active may help with feelings of depression or sadness. Exercises that focus on the mind/body connection, such as yoga or tai chi, may reduce stress and promote healing.
Find a creative outlet. Keeping a journal, making collages, writing poetry and drawing are all positive outlets for your emotions. Many survivors find these activities helpful when they feel unable to speak about what has happened or how they are feeling.
Learn More. Find out more about how sexual assault may affect you, including stages or the range of emotions you may go through.
Pamper yourself. Do something nice for yourself, whether it’s getting a massage, buying yourself a present or just taking time to relax. Remind yourself that you deserve to feel good.
- Use affirmations. Find a statement or phrase that is positive and makes you feel good about yourself (Ex. I am strong. I am a survivor.) Repeat this phrase to yourself throughout the day.