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Information you should know if you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault


If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you may find the following information helpful:

  • First, remember that what happened is not your fault. You did not cause the assault, and no matter what happened, you did not deserve it.
  • Get to a safe place.
  • Try not to change anything at the location where the assault occurred.
  • Remember that eating or drinking, showering, brushing your teeth, going to the bathroom, and changing or altering your clothes could destroy physical evidence that may be helpful if you later decide to pursue legal action.
  • Consider contacting WRAC?  PAVSA?  or one of its individual agencies to talk about and possibly report the assault. These agencies can provide you with medical attention, emotional support, and law enforcement services and can help you explore your various options.
  • Even if you don't want to file a police report, consider receiving medical attention. A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner will help ensure that you are healthy, provide options to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, and collect valuable evidence that may be useful in the future, even if you are unsure about pursuing legal action now. Physical evidence can only be collected for a short period of time after an assault, but in many cases, a survivor has ten years to decide whether to pursue a criminal case (or ten years after one’s 18th birthday if the assault took place prior to the survivor turning 18).
  • The medical exam and follow up visits are free in Iowa, even if you do not report the assault to the police.
  • You have a right to be believed and to receive appropriate medical, emotional, and legal support if you choose such options.

How to support someone who has just been sexually assaulted:

  • Believe them.
  • Listen -- without judging.
  • Let them know that you support and care about them, that they are not responsible for the incident.
  • Emphasize that there is help available.
  • Let them know they are not alone.
  • Let them know about the services of Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA) and Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC)






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Last modified on 08/23/16 10:33 AM
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