Coping with the aftermath of sexual assault or domestic violence or dating violence can be very difficult.
Sexual assault can be extremely traumatic and life-changing. It’s important to remember that your responses are not crazy – they are normal reactions to a traumatic situation. ESU is committed to offering support, resources, and options that encourage empowerment and healing. Remember – you are not alone. Even though you may feel that no one can understand your personal situation, there are those out there who can and want to help and support you through this time.
What do I do right now?
This guide will help you be safe, preserve the evidence, get medical assistance and treatment, and obtain emotional support. Then know your reporting options.
Ensure that you are safe. If you believe that anyone else is in immediate danger, call 911 as soon as possible.
- You can contact University Police at (570) 422-3064.
- If you would like, University Police can assist you in contacting Stroud Regional Police or the Pennsylvania State Police.
- You can contact someone you trust to be with you for support. This could be a friend, family member, or someone from campus.
- You can also contact Women’s Resources of Monroe County for support services. They can be reached at (570) 421-4200. This a 24-hour crisis hotline.
Preserve the Evidence
It’s easy to be tempted to try to erase all signs of what happened to you, but is important to preserve the evidence.
- If you plan to have a sexual assault forensic exam (also a “rape kit”) done, it is
advisable not to do any of the following things until you have gotten medical attention.
- It is advisable that you do not bathe or shower, use the restroom, eat or drink, change your clothes, comb your hair, clean up the scene of the incident, or move anything the offender may have touched.
- If you choose to have this exam completed, it is important that you do so within 72 hours if possible.
- It is important that even if you have not decided whether to file charges, it is advisable to have the sexual assault forensic exam completed so that you can better preserve the options of obtaining a protective order and/or filing criminal charges at a later date.
- You should also wear (or take with you in a paper – not plastic – bag) to the hospital the same clothing that you were wearing during the assault.
Medical Assistance and Treatment
No matter what happened, you should seek medical treatment as soon as you can – even if you’re not sure whether you want to report the incident.
- It is important that you obtain medical attention as soon as possible after a sexual assault to determine the extent of your physical injury and to prevent or treat any sexually transmitted diseases.
- Medical facilities can also screen for the presence of sedative drugs such as Rohypnol or GHB (date rape drugs).
- The local option for medical care would be ExpressCARE at Lehigh Valley Hospital - Pocono.
Obtain Emotional Support
Coping with the aftermath of a sexual assault or dating or domestic violence can be very difficult – but remember, you aren’t alone.
- The Counseling Center can help you sort through your feelings and begin the recovery process. The counselors there are trained to provide crisis intervention and short-term and emergency issues.