What should I do if I have been assaulted?
If you have been sexually assaulted, it is not your fault. Help is available. Healing from an assault may take time, but it is possible. Reporting the assault is not the same as prosecuting. The decision to prosecute can be made later.
Victims of sexual assault are encouraged to:
- Immediately get to a safe place.
- Call the police.
If the incident occurred off campus, contact the appropriate police jurisdiction (in most instances 911). If the incident occurred on campus, please call 843.953.5611.
- Contact the Office of Victim Services
(voluntary assistance program for students affected by violent crime.) It does not matter whether you choose to officially report or not. The Office of Victim Services' philosophy is to work with victims to insure that they receive needed resources, services and information. The 24-hour emergency team response pager number is 843.724.3600. For non-emergency assistance or general information, please call 843.953.2273 during normal business hours.
Another resource is People Against Rape, Inc. (PAR). PAR was established in 1974 to assist adult victims of sexual assault in the tri-county community covering Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley Counties. Their 24 hr. hotline number is 1-800-241-7273.
- Get medical assistance ASAP.
Sexual Assault is an emergency. You may have injuries of which you are not aware. It is important to seek medical care ASAP in order to:
a. Be examined and treated for any injuries and be tested and treated for exposure to sexually transmitted diseases
b. Discuss ways to reduce the risk of pregnancy; including emergency contraception (morning after pill)
c. Collect medical evidence. (If you choose to have evidence collected, the sooner this is done, the more reliable and potentially useful it will be.)
It's also important that you receive treatment at a facility where the staff is specially trained to provide care for sexual assault survivors. The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) ER has a team of specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners on call 24/7 to care for female and male victims of sexual assault. You have the right to a free medical/forensic exam at MUSC for up to 120 hours (or 5 days) after an assault whether you chose to file an official incident report or report anonymously. The cost of the exam, STD testing and STD treatment at MUSC is paid by the State Office of Victim Assistance.
It is important not to change clothes, shower or bathe, douche, drink, eat, smoke, brush your teeth, or use the bathroom unless absolutely necessary before the medical exam in order to keep your legal options open as long as possible. These activities can destroy vital evidence. Bring a change of clothes with you. If you've changed your clothes since the assault, place the clothes you were wearing in a paper bag and bring them with you.
If you believe you were given a date rape drug wait to urinate until you arrive at the hospital. However, if you can’t wait, collect your first urine in a clean container with a lid and take it to the emergency room with you. Also, be sure to tell the emergency room personnel your symptoms and that you believe you were given a date rape drug.
A friend may take you or accompany you. If you need transportation, the Office of Victim Services can assist you.
Do I Have to Report This?
The decision to report the assault to law enforcement authorities is solely up to you. If you aren't sure whether you want to officially report the assault, you can report anonymously and have evidence collected and held while you make a decision. Having evidence collected gives you a wider range of options later if you decide to press charges against the assailant(s). The forensic evidence will be stored for one year from the date it is collected to give you time to decide whether you want to convert the anonymous kit to an active law enforcement investigation. Once the medical examination and forensic evidence collection are completed, the medical provider will seal the forensic evidence collection kit with no name, address, or contact information on the outside. Your hospital patient account number will be placed on the outside of the kit for payment by the State Office of Victim Assistance and tracking purposes only. The sealed kit will then be given to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office for storage purposes only.
- Criminal Process
- Disciplinary Process - if assault committed by another C of C student
- Office of Victim Services
- Anonymous Sexual Assault Forensic Exam
- Civil Suit
Whether you elect to report or choose not to report, GET HELP. The following resources are available:
Office of Victim Services (voluntary assistance program for students affected by violent crime) The Office of Victim Services works with victims to insure that they receive needed resources, services and information. The 24-hour emergency team response pager number is 843-724-3600. For non-emergency assistance or general information, please call 843-953-2273 during normal business hours.
The College of Charleston Counseling Center - offers a variety of services and individual counseling sessions 843.953.5640
PAR (People Against Rape) - a local non-profit community service provider which offers support and assistance to those affected by rape. 843.745.0144 or 1.800.241.RAPE.
Is there anything I can I do to decrease the risk of myself or a friend being assaulted?
Adapted from The College of Charleston, Public Safety Department
The College of Charleston, Office of Victim Services
People Against Rape, Inc.
The University of South Carolina,Student Health Services
The University of Virginia Women's Center