If You Are A Victim
You Have The Right To:
- Get to a safe place.
- Do not shower, bathe, wash your hands, brush your teeth, use the toilet or clean up in any way. You could destroy evidence. If you have already done any of these things, evidence may still be present for collection.
- Do not change or destroy clothing. Your clothes are evidence.
- If it was in your home, do not rearrange and/or clean up anything. You could destroy evidence.
- Get medical attention as soon as possible. Evidence should be collected when you get to the hospital.
- Contact a friend or family member you trust or call the local rape crisis center hotline.
- Most of all, know that this is not your fault.
- determine whether to report the crime to the police,
- ask for a male or female police officer if you choose to report,
- locate an attorney to represent you (the prosecutor is not your attorney),
- sue the rapist in civil court for money,
- refuse to have evidence collected,
- request that someone accompany you in the examination room, and
- be considered a rape victim/survivor regardless of the rapist's relationship to you.
Getting back to normal can take a long time and you may be wondering if there is anyone who can help. Many survivors have found it helpful to talk to rape crisis counselors. You can find the telephone numbers of your local center here or listed in your phone book. You may also call the 24-hour National Sexual Assault Hotline, operated by RAINN, at 1-800-656-HOPE. By calling this number you will be automatically connected to your closest rape crisis center. Rape crisis centers are on call 24-hours a day waiting to help you.
Feel free to call and request "A Survivor's Booklet" in English or Spanish from TAASA. Our number is 512-474-7190
When It Is Someone You Know
When someone you know or care about has been assaulted, it is normal for you to feel upset and confused. At a time when you may want to help most, you will be dealing with a crisis of your own.
You may find it difficult to listen when he/she needs to talk about his or her feelings. You may hope that by not talking about it, the feelings both of you have will go away. You may be tempted to make decisions for the survivor, to be over-protective. You may want to hide the assault from others. You may feel disturbed or confused when the survivor continues to be affected for weeks, months, and even years.
Some partners may want more physical intimacy sooner than the survivor does. Others may feel repulsed.
Maybe you feel guilty and responsible, believing you could somehow prevent the assault. You may also feel anger at the survivor or at everyone in general.
All of these feelings are understandable following the sexual assault of someone you love. Please know that if these feelings are hidden or expressed in hurtful ways, they can interfere with the resolution of your crisis and that of the survivor. The survivor may need your support and understanding. You, however, also need support.
Rape is a violent assault, not a sexually-motivated or gratifying act. The rapist's aim is to dominate, humiliate, control and degrade the victim. Because the same body parts are involved in sexual assault as in making love, many people confuse sex and violence. Some respond to a survivor as if s/he provoked, wanted or enjoyed it.
Many people also believe rape is not traumatic. Not understanding the reality of sexual assault can make the crisis more difficult for both of you. The emotional impact of sexual assault does not disappear, and talking about it can help. Your feelings are normal, and resources are available for you too.