Steps and Medical Care

Know that rape and sexual assault ARE NEVER THE VICTIM'S FAULT. No matter where or how it happens.

Remember It's Not Your Fault!

Whatever happened, it wasn't your fault. No one has the right to have sex with you against your will. The blame for a rape lies solely with the rapist.

It is your choice to report the rape. For the quickest response, call 911 to be connected to the nearest police department.

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 victim assistance a rape crisis center hotline.

If you, or someone you know, has been raped see these resources available.

  • Go to a safe place.
  • Find a safe location away from the perpetrator.
  • Call a friend, a family member, or someone else you trust who can be with you and give you support.

Rape is a crime, whether the person committing it is a stranger, a date, an acquaintance, or a family member. What's the right thing to do if you've been raped? Take care of yourself in the best way for you. For some people, that means reporting the crime immediately and fighting to see the rapist brought to justice. For others it means seeking medical or emotional care without reporting the rape as a crime. Every person is different.

Understanding what you're going through is the first step to recovery.

Preserving DNA evidence can be crucial to identifying the perpetrator in a sexual assault case, especially if the offender is a stranger. DNA evidence is a vital part of a law enforcement investigation that can build a strong case to show that a sexual assault occurred and to show that the defendant is the source of biological material left on the victim’s body.

Preserve all physical evidence of the assault

Do not eat or smoke
Do not use the restroom
Do not comb or brush your hair
Do not wash your hands or face
Do not shower or bathe
Do not brush your teeth
Do not change clothes/wash clothing or straighten up the area where the assault took place
Do not clean or disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred
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.

To help preserve evidence:

  • It is best to have evidence collected within the first 72 hours of the assault. (Up to 5 days).
  • If you already cleaned up from the assault, you can still request a rape exam.
  • If you are still in the location at which the crime occurred, do not clean or straighten up or remove anything.

What will be included in a post sexual assault examination?

A will consist of treatment of medical needs, and prevention treatment.

A forensic medical exam may be performed at a hospital or other healthcare facility, by a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE), sexual assault forensic examiner (SAFE) or another medical professional. This exam is complex and on average, takes 3-4 hours.

Even if you do not have any visible physical injuries, you may be at risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease (women may also be at risk for pregnancy).

A sexual assault victim has the option to have a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) (commonly referred to as "rape exam") without filing a police report

Get medical care as soon as possible. Go to a hospital emergency department or student health services that provide treatment for sexual assault victims. 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. Student Health Services provides medical treatment and follow-up care for all registered students.

A medical professional will write down the victim’s history including medications being taken and preexisting conditions unrelated to the assault

Next there is a head-to-toe, examination and assessment of the entire body (including an internal examination).

This may include collection of blood, urine, hair samples, photo documentation of any injuries (such as bruises, cuts and scraped skin), collection of clothing

The medical professional will speak about treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that may have been exposed during the assault.

Depending on the hospital and state, the victim may receive referrals for follow-up counseling, community resources and follow-up medical care.

The victim has the right to accept or decline any or all parts of the exam. However, it is important to remember that critical evidence may be missed if not collected.

After the forensic medical exam is performed and the evidence is collected and stored in the kit, the victim will be able to take a shower, brush their teeth, etc. — all while knowing that the evidence has been preserved to aid in a criminal prosecution if so desired.

If you suspect you have been drugged, request that a urine sample be collected to preserve evidence

It is your right to have a friend, family member, or sexual assault advocate present with you while talking with the police. You also have the right to have a support person of your choice present with you during the rape exam.

No matter how it happened, rape is frightening and traumatizing. People who have been raped need care, comfort, and a way to heal

Rape, sometimes also called sexual assault, can happen to both men and women of any age. Men are victims of rape as well sometimes at the hands of women and sometimes other men. Male rapists aren't all necessarily gay, but being gay does not make one exempt from being a rapist either.

Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances of the assault, including a description of the assailant.

Victims of sexual assault can access a medical forensic exam for free and regardless of their decision to participate in the criminal justice process.

Under this law, a state must ensure that victims have access to an exam free of charge or with a full reimbursement, even if the victim decides not to cooperate with law enforcement investigators.

Essentially, this new law allows victims time to decide whether to pursue their case. A sexual assault is a traumatic event and some victims are unable to decide in the immediate aftermath. Because forensic evidence can be lost as time progresses, a “Jane Doe Rape Kit” enables a victim to have forensic evidence collected without revealing identifying information. For instance, in some states, victims are given a code number they can use to identify themselves if they choose to report the crime at a later date. Each state has determined different time frames for the storage of a kit. The victim should be informed at the time of the exam as to the length of time the kit will be retained, as well as the disposition of the kit.

What is Sexual Assault?

In North Carolina, the law considers it rape when sex is unwanted or nonconsensual including oral and anal penetration, sexual touching, fondling, rape and a variety of other acts.

For more information:
Information/Types of Sexual Assault/Was it Rape

  • If you want to report the crime, notify the police immediately.
  • Reporting the crime can help you regain a sense of personal power and control.

Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005, states: may not “require a victim of sexual assault to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law enforcement in order to be provided with a forensic medical exam.