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What steps should someone take after a sexual assault?

This might seem like a silly question to some, but those who have experienced rape or some other form of sexual assault know better. The truth is, the time immediately following such an assault is not only filled with extreme pain, fear and anxiety, it is filled with confusion as well. No one can take away the turmoil that comes after a sexual assault, but it might be helpful to know what steps to take in case the unthinkable ever does occur.

According to the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica's UCLA Medical Center, victims should take the following steps immediately after suffering a rape or assault.

-- Get to safety immediately -- Call the police to report the assault -- Contact someone you trust give you support -- Preserve any physical evidence from your body and the scene as instructed below --- Don't shower --- Don't brush your teeth --- Don't wash any part of your body --- Don't eat or drink anything --- Save every item of clothing you were wearing --- Place the items in separate paper bags --- Don't use plastic bags --- Don't disturb the location where the assault took place -- Get medical care from a place that can preserve physical evidence -- Request a urine sample if you believe a date rape drug was used

It can also be helpful to authorities to try writing down the events as closely as you remember them. Even the smallest detail could help police find the defendant. One thing the Rape Treatment Center does not mention is contacting an attorney as soon as possible. This is important regardless of whether an arrest has been made because a skilled sexual assault lawyer can help you lay the necessary groundwork to take civil action if you later choose to do so and your assailant is apprehended.

Source: Rape Treatment Center: Santa Monica - UCLA Medical Center, "What To Do If You Are Raped" Oct. 07, 2014

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