Steps and Medical Care

Know that sexual assault and partner violence are NEVER THE VICTIM'S FAULT, no matter where or how it happens. No one has the right to have sex with you against your will. The blame for an assault lies solely with the person who assaulted you.

Even if you were drinking or using drugs, even if you consented to other acts like kissing, even if you were dating the person, even if you slept in the same bed as someone...nothing excuses someone forcing you to do something you don't want to do.

After a sexual assault, you have a lot of choices and decisions to make - getting medical care, whether or not to file a campus or police report, who to tell, etc. You may have concerns about the impact of the assault and the reactions of friends and family members. The Victim Advocate recognizes that all of these decisions belong to you alone and is here to listen and inform you of your rights and options.
You may have felt powerless during the traumatic event, but the choice of how to proceed is yours alone. Whatever you choose, you are not alone. Remember that the Victim Advocate is here to discuss any questions you may have and is available to accompany you as you proceed with any of the options below.

Rape Kits/Pregnancy & STI Testing

You can obtain a rape kit even if you're not sure whether or not you want to press criminal charges. Rape kits can be performed by Student Health Services here at ECU during normal business hours or at Vidant Medical Center 24 hours a day. It's best to obtain a kit within five days of the assault, and sooner is better. See the Preserve All Evidence page below for information on the best way to prepare for an exam. You may also choose to seek a pregnancy or STI test to assess for long-term medical effects after an assault.

Criminal Charges/Actions

You may want to press criminal charges against the person who assaulted you. If this is the case, you can reach out to ECU PD (252.328.6787) or Greenville PD (252.329.4315) to file a report. If you would like to file for a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) or a Civil No-Contact Order, you may go to the Pitt County Courthouse at 100 W. 3rd St. during normal business hours.

Campus Reports

Under Title IX, there are certain protections in place at ECU to assist victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. These include academic, housing, employment, and campus protections. To file a report with Title IX and/or find out more about these protections, call 252.328.6804 or visit their website.

Counseling

The Victim Advocate is specially trained to provide nonjudgmental and supportive counseling services. To make an appointment, please call the Center for Counseling and Student Development (252.328.6661) and ask to make an appointment with the Victim Advocate.

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.