Considerations for Survivors of Sexual Assault or Intimate Partner Violence
If you have experienced a sexual assault or violence in a dating or intimate relationship, the most important thing you can do is get to a safe place. If you believe you or anyone else is in immediate danger, call 911 as soon as possible.
Once you are safe, contact someone you trust to be with you for support. This could be a friend, family member, or someone on campus. SAFE Homes-Rape Crisis Coalition has confidential advocates available through a 24-hour crisis line at 800-273-5066. The college also offers a 24-hour mental health crisis line at 864-597-4393.
No matter what happened and even if you’re not sure whether you want to report the incident, you should consider seeking medical attention as soon as you can. It’s the best way to protect yourself from the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy in connection with a sexual assault. Even if you think you are physically OK, you may have injuries that need treatment. It’s also important to consider having a forensic exam. This ensures that crucial evidence is collected immediately in case you decide to report what happened to campus authorities or the city police.
Sexual Assault Forensic Exam-Preserve Evidence of the Sexual Violence or Encounter:
It’s important to consider having a forensic exam. You can go to Spartanburg Medical Center or Spartanburg Medical Center - Mary Black Campus to request a sexual assault forensic exam (often called a “rape kit”) within 72 hours of the assault. Even if you have not decided whether to file charges, it is advisable to have the evidence collection kit completed so that you can better preserve the options of obtaining a protective order and/or filing criminal charges at a later date. If you do not wish to file a report with law enforcement at that time, you may request an anonymous kit with no law enforcement involvement. Spartanburg Medical Center has specially trained sexual assault nurse examiners who perform these kits. The cost of these kits will be paid from a crime victim fund, so you will not be billed.
If you plan to have a sexual assault forensic exam, do not do any of the following things until you have gotten medical attention and/or contacted the police:
- Bathe or shower
- Use the restroom
- Eat or drink
- Change clothes
- Comb your hair
- Clean up the crime scene
- Move anything the offender may have touched
Get Counseling and Support:
Coping with the aftermath of a sexual assault or dating or domestic violence will be very difficult, but remember that you’re not alone. Wofford offers counseling services to help you recover. Make it a priority to get the help you need to process what happened to you and to begin your recovery process.
Consider Reporting the Incident
Deciding whether or not to report an incident isn’t easy. Take your time with the decision (but consider seeking medical attention to collect evidence immediately). If you decide to report the event, you have several options. You can:
- Report it to campus safety or local law enforcement.
- File a complaint with the Title IX coordinator.
- Report to both law enforcement and the Title IX coordinator.
If you do report the event to the Title IX office, you can ask the Title IX coordinator to help you notify law enforcement. You also can decline to involve the police.