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WHAT IS SEXUAL ASSAULT?

Rape/Sexual Assault is any form of sexual activity that you don't agree to, ranging from touching to penetration.

Rape is a crime even if you already know the person who attacked you -- if the person is a spouse, another family member, or a friend or someone with whom you work.

Rape is a crime even if you didn't fight back.

Rape is a crime even if you were drinking, taking drugs, given drugs or unconscious.

Anyone can be raped -- men and women, children and elderly people.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU'VE BEEN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED

GET TO SAFETY

Get to a safe place and call 911 immediately. Reporting the crime can help you regain a sense of personal power and control. Call a friend, a family member, or someone else you trust who can be with you and give you support.

PRESERVE THE EVIDENCE

It's important to preserve all physical evidence of the assault. Do not shower, bathe, douche, eat, drink, wash your hands, or brush your teeth until after you have had a medical examination.

Save all of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. Place each item of clothing in a separate paper bag. Do not use plastic bags. Do not clean or disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred.

INFORM YOURSELF

Get information whenever you have questions or concerns. After a sexual assault, you have a lot of choices and decisions to make - e.g., about getting medical care, making a police report, and telling other people. You may have concerns about the impact of the assault and the reactions of friends and family members. You can get information by calling Open Arms, a hotline, or other victim assistance agencies.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE

Get medical care as soon as possible. Go to a hospital emergency department or a specialized forensic clinic that provides treatment for sexual assault victims. Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo has Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners on call in the event that a sexual assault victim presents at the Emergency Room. Even if you think that you do not have any physical injuries, you should still have a medical examination and discuss with a health care provider the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections and the possibility of pregnancy resulting from the sexual assault. Having an exam is also a way for you to preserve physical evidence of a sexual assault.

If you suspect that you may have been given a "date rape drug," ask the hospital or clinic where you receive medical care to take a urine sample. Drugs, such as Rohypnol and GHB, are more likely to be detected in urine than in blood.

SEEK COUNSELING

Talk with a counselor who is trained to assist rape/sexual assault victims. Counseling can help you learn how to cope with the emotional and physical impacts of the assault. You can find a counselor by contacting a local rape crisis center, a hotline, a counseling service, other victim assistance agencies, or Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. RAINN is a national victim assistance organization, at 1-800-656-HOPE. RAINN will connect you to a rape crisis center in your area.