If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there can be time-sensitive decisions to make about preventing sexually transmitted infections, preventing pregnancy and collecting physical evidence. Some physical assaults, such as strangulation, may also require immediate medical attention.
Immediate action to take
- Go to a safe location.
- Call a confidential advocate who can explain all of your medical and reporting options and provide immediate emotional support.
- USC’s Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Services (RSVP) (213) 740-4900 (after hours, press zero “0” to speak to an on-call counselor)
- Call one of the community agencies accessible via the resources page.
- Get medical care as soon as possible. Go to a hospital, emergency room or a specialized forensic clinic that works with sexual assault survivors. Some options in Los Angeles include the Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center at (310) 319-4000 and the Violence Intervention Program at (323) 226-3961. Both are available 24 hours and both locations provide medical care, specially-trained staff, and collection of forensic evidence.
- You may also request medications for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and emergency contraception.
- If you think you may have been given a rape drug, request that the hospital or clinic take a urine and blood sample. These samples need to be collected as soon as possible because these drugs leave the system quickly.
- DPS can drive you to either location and you do not need to tell them your name or show any ID if you do not want to.
- If you want to report the crime immediately, notify DPS at (213) 740-4321 (24 hours) and/or call 911. Note that any report alleging rape or sexual assault filed with DPS will be forwarded to LAPD.
- Preserve all physical evidence of the assault, even if you are unsure whether you want to report the crime. Do not shower, bathe, douche, eat, drink, wash your hands or brush your teeth until after you have had a medical examination. Save all the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault and bring it and any other potential evidence to the medical exam. Place each item of clothing in a separate paper bag (do not use plastic bags). Do not clean or disturb the area where the assault occurred.
- Call a trusted friend, family member or someone else who can provide support.
- If more than one week has passed since the assault, or if you are certain that you do not want the collection of forensic evidence, Engemann Student Health Center, (213) 740-9355, provides medical care, including emergency contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections.
- Staff at the Engemann Student Health Center, including the Student Counseling Center, also assure confidentiality to students seeking their services. (Please note that, in cases involving a physical wound or injury due to a sexual assault, domestic violence, or in the case of a sexual assault of a minor, physicians may be required to report these situations to the proper legal authorities.)
Follow-up action to take
- Talk to a counselor for emotional support and advocacy. The nature of sexual misconduct or assault, particularly by an acquaintance, date or partner, makes it difficult for many students to report their experience. See our resources page.
- Consider reporting to law enforcement and/or the Title IX Office. See our reporting options page.
- Other evidence to gather: Whether or not you have decided to pursue an investigation, certain information should be gathered before too much time elapses, so that you may best preserve your options. For example you might consider saving text messages, Facebook postings, emails, or voicemail messages that might prove relevant. If you have already deleted text messages, they might also be retrieved from your mobile phone company if you make the request during the current billing cycle. It can also be helpful to write down the names (or descriptions, if you do not have names) of possible witnesses, in case you later forget this information.