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Sexual Assault Prevention Info & Resources

Hospital Emergency Rooms

What to Do If You Are a Victim of Sexual Assault

  • Make sure you are in a safe place.
  • Remember: You are not to blame!
  • Call a support person. Please don't try to go through this alone.
  • Contact a professional support person, who may include...
  • Highly recommended: Go to a hospital emergency room right away. In our region, the Deaconess Hospital Emergency Room (800 W. 5th Ave.) is well prepared to help.
  • Do not shower, bathe, douche or change clothes before going to the hospital, even though you may feel a strong need to do so. It's crucial that you do not destroy evidence in case you decide at any point to press charges.
  • Let medical personnel at the hospital know that you have been sexually assaulted, so they know what kind of treatment is important.
  • You will be encouraged at the hospital to call the police. If you're not ready to do that at this point, being treated at the hospital increases the likelihood that you will be successful in pressing charges at a later point.

Why Go For Help?

Your health is what matters most. You may have internal injuries, so you need to have a physical examination. Also the risks for sexually-transmitted diseases and pregnancy need to be discussed.

In addition, the assault needs to be legally documented and evidence collected in case you decide at some point to press charges. Even if your initial thought is that you would never go to court, it is best to have the evidence collected in case you change your mind later.

The Medical-Legal Exam, at which evidence is collected, can be done up to 96 hours post-assault. To minimize the risk of confounding and losing evidence, however, the sooner you have the exam done, the better. If more time has elapsed, a physical exam is still strongly recommended.

In addition to caring for your physical well-being and protecting your legal options, hospital personnel can help to provide additional support resources for you. In addition, many campus personnel (Whitworth Health & Counseling Center; residence hall staff) are available to help.