Survivors have choices about how to proceed. There is no ONE right way to heal, recover, or obtain closure. And remember: sexual violence is NEVER the survivor’s fault.
Immediate Care & Crisis Response
Immediately following an incident it is important to take the following steps as soon as possible to ensure your physical well-being and in the event that you may want to pursue a criminal investigation.
Consider the following suggestions:
Contact someone you trust, such as a friend, family member, or AU staff member. Be aware some staff members, such as resident assistants (RAs), may be required to report information you disclose.
Seek medical attention even if you are not seeking evidence collection. It is important to be tested for sexually transmitted infections and to treat possible internal injury.
If you may want to pursue a criminal case in the future, it is important to have evidence collected by a specially credentialed nurse. This process is known as “Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner” exam, or SANE exam.
To preserve evidence, it is best not to shower, bathe, douche, brush your teeth etc. It is best to have evidence collected as soon as possible following an assault, but exams are conducted up to 96 hours from the time at which the incident occurred.
SANE programs provide free medical examinations to collect/preserve evidence. As part of this service, the SANE Program provides free STDs/HIV testing and prophylactic treatment for STDs/HIV and pregnancy.
SANE exams are conducted in the jurisdiction in which the crime occurred, and there is only ONE location for evidence collection per jurisdiction (city).
The DC SANE program is at Washington Hospital Center (WHC) at 110 Irving Street, NW DC, 20010. To contact the DC SANE program and notify them that you need an exam, call 800-641-4028. The office is open 24/7 and can help coordinate a free ride to the hospital.
These services are free and confidential. At the hospital, you may ask to speak to a Metropolitan Police Officer and make a report on site, but you are not required to do so.
If you were not assaulted in the District of Columbia but may want to pursue criminal charges, it is important to find the SANE program in your jurisdiction. The easiest way to obtain this information is to Google “Forensic Exam,” Victim Services” and the name of the city in which the incident occurred.