GET HELP: What to do after a sexual assault.
If you were recently sexually assaulted, there are steps you can take to begin healing. We believe you and are here to support you in any way we can. This experience was not your fault and you have options for moving forward. If you would like to speak with an advocate now, please call our 24-hour hotline at (410) 857-7322.
- Get to a safe place.
If you are in danger, call 911 right away.
Follow this link if for safety planning information: https://mcasa.org/assets/files/mcasa-sali-safety-plan.pdf
Go to a trusted friend or family member’s house, the hospital, or a police station. If during regular office hours, RCIS of Carroll County is available for Walk-in Crisis Intervention.
- Tell someone you trust.
Reach out to a trusted friend or family member, or to RCIS’s 24-hour hotline. Having support can make a difference and help you to heal.
If someone has asked you for help in the aftermath of a sexual assault, this page may be helpful for you: Help a Loved One
- Get medical attention.
You DO NOT have to report to the police in order to receive medical care after a sexual assault.
Receive a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination
You have five days to go to Carroll Hospital or another participating hospital in order to receive a SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination). SAFEs are offered at no cost to you. If you have not done so already, try not to shower, bathe, brush your teeth or hair, douche, or clean any other part of your body before going in for an exam in order to preserve possible evidence. If you go to Carroll Hospital, an RCIS advocate will be called to meet you there to answer questions and support you. You are not obligated to speak with an advocate or have them present during any part of your time at the hospital, but they will be there for you if you would like them to be.
For a list of SAFE Program participating hospitals in Maryland, click here: https://mcasa.org/safe-programs . If you need help finding a SAFE Program participating hospital, please call our office at (410) 857-0900 or our 24-hour hotline at (410) 857-7322.
If you do not want to report to law enforcement right away, you can request an anonymous, or “Jane Doe,” exam. You will still receive all medical care and evidence will be collected in case you choose to report to law enforcement later. In Maryland, evidence collected during a SAFE is saved for 20 years. If you want to report your assault to law enforcement right away, the police will be called to the hospital to interview you and inform you of the next steps.
If you have more questions or want to know more about what to expect during a SAFE, please call our 24-hour hotline at (410) 857-7322 or visit https://www.carrollhospitalcenter.org/adult-safe-program .
You DO NOT have to have a full SAFE in order to receive medical care for injuries, sexually transmitted disease prevention, or potential pregnancy at the hospital. You have the right to decline any part of the exam you do not wish to have done.
If you do not want to go to the hospital, you can go to the Carroll County Health Department, your primary care physician, or an OB-GYN for medical care after an assault. However, only the hospital can perform a SAFE for evidence collection.
4. Report to the police.
If you are ready and feel safe doing so, you can report your assault to law enforcement. Contact your local precinct or go to the hospital for a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination. An RCIS advocate is always available through our 24-hour hotline at (410) 857-7322 and can help you through the process of reporting. To learn more about RCIS advocate accompaniments, please look here:
If you are in need of legal advice, please refer to the Sexual Assault Legal Institute affiliated with the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault: https://mcasa.org/survivors/sali
5. Know your options for moving forward.
There are many ways to begin healing after a sexual assault, and every victim-survivor has the right to choose their own way forward. Trauma can have a wide variety of long-lasting effects. It is important to know that what happened was not your fault and that healing is possible.
Reaching out to your local rape crisis center can be a good place to start. For a listing of other rape crisis centers in Maryland, please visit https://mcasa.org/survivors/find-a-rape-crisis-center . If you need help finding a rape crisis center in your area, please call our 24-hour hotline at (410) 857-7322.
Therapy or counseling with a licensed practitioner is helpful for many victim-survivors. RCIS of Carroll County offers free counseling with a licensed therapist to victim-survivors who are age 12 and over and their friends and family members who may also be affected. If this sounds like it may be right for you, please call our office at (410) 857-0900 during regular business hours. If you would like to speak with an advocate now, please call our 24-hour hotline at (410) 857-7322.
Please click here for more information about our Therapy Services and support groups.
RCIS also offers Walk-in Crisis Intervention and information and referrals to other local services.
If you are not ready to reach out, there are many online resources that can help you learn more about sexual assault and recovery from trauma. Please look here for a list of resources available or click the button below.