1. Get yourself to a safe place
If the assault has just occurred, consider calling the University Police at (585)395-2222 if you are on campus or 911 if you are off campus. If you are on campus and near a blue light phone you can utilize that to get the police.
2. Save evidence
Even if you are unsure about whether you want to pursue criminal charges against the assailant, saving evidence now gives you the option to decide later. Preserving as much evidence as possible on your body means trying not to shower or bathe, eat, drink. smoke, or brush your teeth. Items that you were wearing at the time of the assault should not be washed and can be left on your body or if they have already been removed should be placed in a paper bag and brought to the emergency room or to the police.
Evidence should be collected as soon as possible after an assault, ideally within 72 hours after an assault. Evidence that is collected during a forensic exam at the hospital will be held for 30 days, which gives you time to decide about prosecution.
3. Seek immediate medical treatment
Not all injuries are apparent, so a medical exam is strongly advised. You can receive medical treatment and a forensic exam by going to the nearest emergency room. Ideally a visit to an emergency room that has a SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Exam) Center is the best choice. From Brockport the closest Emergency Room Hospital with a SAFE Center is located at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. UMMC in Batavia is another nearby option.
The medical exam, not including the evidence collection, will be similar to a gynecological exam, and can also include testing and prevention of sexually transmitted infections, HIV, pregnancy and treatment for injuries. A medical exam is advised to ensure and protect your health.
If you choose not to have a forensic exam you can still seek medical treatment which may include testing for STI’s, HIV, pregnancy, medication and treatment from injury at the College at Brockport Student Health Center located in Hazen Hall or through your own health care provider off campus.
Seeking an advocate or counselor
Victims of sexual assault don’t have to deal with what they are feeling all by themselves. Many victims regardless of whether the sexual assault took place recently or some time ago feel a wide range of feelings including anger, fear, numbness, confusion, fear, isolated, alone, and withdrawn. Some common difficulties that sexual assault victims have are trouble concentrating, increased irritability, decreased trust of others, nightmares and sleep disturbances, feeling unsafe, and panic attacks.
Talking with a counselor about what you’re are feeling and experiencing can be very helpful to begin recovery from what has happened to you. The College at Brockport Counseling Center has a counselor who specializes in sexual assault and abuse. To schedule a confidential appointment with Sandra Vazquez or any of the counselors call (585) 395-2207.
In addition to talking with someone you trust you may be interested in additional support options. The Rape Crisis Service operates a 24 hour hotline with trained counselors who are available to talk about the sexual assault incident. They also can provide advocates to accompany a victim of sexual assault through the forensic exam process and/or reporting to police. To contact the local Rape Crisis Service call 1-800-527-1757.