Surviving Rape & Sexual Assault

Getting Help After Being Sexually Assaulted

Rape affects men and women both physically and emotionally. If you have been raped:

  • Immediately get to safety.
  • Resist the urge to shower or wash your clothes until you have sought help. Rapists strike again. You carry the best chance of bringing them to justice with the DNA they left on you.
  • It is not your fault and you shouldn’t feel ashamed. Tell someone you trust.

Reach Out and/or Notify the Police

If you would prefer to talk to a professional, you can reach out to these organizations that are trained to help you through this painful experience which is, again, not your fault.

  • New Orleans Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) http://www.nolasart.org Hotline:  1-855-435-STAR
  • New Orleans Family Justice Center 1-504-592-4005
  • National Rape Crisis hotline and resource, RAINN at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • The local police. You can request an officer of your same gender if that will make you most comfortable.
  • Report the crime immediately after it has happened. If you report an attack at a later stage, it’s likely that evidence will be lost. Once you feel ready, the police will take your statement. Your name and address can be withheld to protect your privacy, but other details will be the evidence used to stop your attacker from striking again. Questions that you will be asked:
    1. Were drugs and/or alcohol voluntarily or involuntarily involved?
    2. Did you know the attacker beforehand?
    3. Time and date of the assault
    4. Where did the attack happen?
    5. What happened and what was said before the attack?
    6. Did you resist and was a weapon involved?
    7. The clothing, hair, height, ethnicity, gender, and identifying marks of your attacker
    8. Injuries that you or your attacker received as a result of the attack
    9. Did anyone witness you and your attacker together? Was this a date rape?

Visiting the Doctor

  • To provide evidence to pursue your attacker, a doctor’s visit is important. Medical evidence should be collected within 72 hours. A health care professional will check to make sure you don’t have a sexually transmitted disease and ensure you are not pregnant. They will gently obtain samples of your saliva, urine, blood, pubic hair, and take swabs from your mouth, rectum and genitals. These samples will only be used with your permission.

Taking Care of Your Mental Health

  • Take care of yourself during this time. Expect to have mixed emotions such as  fear, anxiety, shock, guilt, and anger. You are a victim of a crime.
  • Give yourself permission to grieve.
  • Seek out people who can help you heal. Join a group that will allow you to talk about your experience in a therapeutic setting.
  • Read books that give perspective and support to rape victims.
  • Seek positive experiences in positive environments to help with depression.
  • Discuss options with your doctor and family members.

The earlier you report a rape the better, but something can be done weeks, months, or years after a rape. Speak up.