This project is supported by Grant No. 20150014 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice.  

The opinions, findingsconclusions or recommendations expressed in this program are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the

 U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

WHAT SHOULD I DO?

It’s hard to know what to do, how to feel, or what your options are after a sexual assault. Please know that you’re not alone. Below are some things to keep in mind. If you are in immediate danger or seriously injured, call 911.

  1. Your safety is important. Are you in a safe place? If you’re not feeling safe, consider reaching out to someone you trust for support. You don’t have to go through this alone.

  2. What happened was not your fault. Something happened to you that you didn’t want to happen—and that’s not OK.

  3. Call the Iowa Sexual Assault Hotline at 888-557-0310. You’ll be connected to a trained staff member.  They will direct you to the appropriate local health facility that can care for survivors of sexual assault. A trained advocate will be sent to accompany you.

When you call the Iowa Sexual Assault Hotline, a staff member will walk you through the process of getting help at your own pace. All services are free and confidential. 

Reporting to Law Enforcement

The decision to report to law enforcement is entirely yours. Some survivors say that reporting and seeking justice helped them recover and regain a sense of control over their lives. Understanding how to report and learning more about the experience can take away some of the unknowns and help you feel more prepared.

What to expect from the Criminal Justice System

Understanding a few key aspects of the crimincal justice system can take away some of the unknowns and help you feel more prepared.

What is a Sexual Assault Kit?

DNA evidence from a crime like sexual assault can be collected from the crime scene, but it can also be collected from your body, clothes, and other personal belongings. You may choose to have a sexual assault forensic exam, sometimes known as a “rape kit,” to preserve possible DNA evidence and receive important medical care. You don’t have to report the crime to have an exam, but the process gives you the chance to safely store evidence should you decide to report at a later time.

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