resources & links > for survivors
what should i do?
Below are some options you can choose to take if you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted.
1) first steps
- Find a safe environment - anywhere away from the attacker. If you are the survivor, ask a trusted friend to stay with you for moral support.
- If you are the survivor know that what happened was not your fault.
- Call your local Rape Crisis Hotline to get guidance and support. In San Francisco call San Francisco Women Against Rape's 24-hour hotline at 415-647-7273 for free, confidential support. If you are not in San Francisco but still want support please feel free to call our hotline and we will provide a referral to the rape crisis center nearest you. If you have access to the internet you can look up the rape crisis center nearest you by visiting the RAINN website.
2) medical attention
You may, or may not want to seek medical or legal attention immediately.
It is recommended that medical attention be sought within 5 days of the assault at San Francisco General Hospital Rape Treatment Center located at:
SAN FRANCISCO GENERAL HOSPITAL
RAPE TREATMENT CENTER
1001 POTRERO AVENUE (@ 23RD STREET)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94110
5 days is the maximum time period in which HIV prevention medication, forensic evidence (including drug testing), and emergency contraception (morning-after pill) can be administered. If five days have passed since the assault, and the survivor would like medical treatment call the Trauma Recovery Center at 415-437-3000. SFGH (San Francisco General Hospital) EMERGENCY SERVICES, RELATED TO THE TREATMENT OF A SEXUAL ASSAULT, ARE OFFERED TO SURVIVORS FREE OF CHARGE.
During the medical exam at SFGH, if you want to pursue legal action, you can have forensic evidence collected, and choose to make a police report at this time. Even if you have forensic evidence collected, this does not mean you need to file a police report at this time or at any time.
Note: The hospital will hold evidence from a sexual assault exam for three months before destroying it, however the longer a survivor waits to press charges the less likely any legal action will be taken against the perpetrator. In other words, the sooner a survivor presses charges, the stronger his or her case will be.
Tips for supporting the survivor to get medical attention: It is extremely important that those supporting the survivor respect whatever decision s/he makes. If the survivor decides to seek medical attention, you can offer to accompany the survivor to the hospital. If s/he declines your offer, don't take it personally.
3) filing a police report
Involving the Police
- You can choose to report the attack to police by calling 911 or have the police called when you go to the emergency room at San Francisco General Hospital. A counselor on San Francisco Women Against Rape's Hotline 415-647-7273 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE can help you understand the process of involving the police.
- Write down all the details you can recall about the attack & the attacker.
Choosing not to Report to the Police
- If you know that you will never report, still consider:
- Call San Francisco Women Against Rape's Hotline at 415-647-RAPE or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE for free, confidential counseling, 24-hours a day.
- Recognize that healing from rape takes time. Give yourself the time you need. Know that it's never too late to call. Even if the attack happened years ago, the National Sexual Assault Hotline or the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline can still help. Many survivors do not realize they need help until months or even years later.
4) find a rape crisis center near you
RAINN (Rape and Incest National Network) allows you to search by state and/or zip code in order to find the rape crisis center nearest you.
5) download handout
ESSENTIAL INFORMATION ON WHAT TO DO IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS BEEN ASSAULTED
If you have been sexually assaulted, remember:
It was not your fault.
You are not alone.
You deserve support.
You have rights.
Your rights include...
- To be treated with respect, dignity and courtesy.
- To file a police report and receive services regardless of your relationship to the assailant.
- To not be judged because of your race, age, class, gender, sexual orientation or occupation.
- To have a sexual assault advocate come with you to medical care, police and legal proceedings.
- To privacy when meeting with a counselor or police officer.
- To confidentiality when speaking with a counselor or advocate.
- To understand any forms you are asked to sign.
- To as questions and get answers about any tests, exams, medications or treatments.
- To be told about any necessary follow-up care and testing.
- To voice complaints and expect to have them heard.