Sexual assaults can be terrifying and traumatic. You are not to blame and you are not alone. Various options are available to you if you have been sexually assaulted, including a medical examination, supportive counseling, reporting the crime, and informal conflict resolution. Strategies to help you cope:
- Trust yourself: Remember that no matter what the circumstances were, you are not to blame for what happened to you. Give yourself permission to do what you need to do to take care of yourself.
- Tell someone you trust: Sexual assault can be terrifying and traumatic and can be an enormous burden to bear alone. Think about whom you might trust to tell that would be supportive. You can also speak with someone on the SAPAC 24-hour crisis line at (734) 936-3333, on the SAFE House 24-hour crisis line at (734) 995-5444, or call for an appointment with SAPAC at (734) 764-7771 during regular business hours.
- Request a medical examination: Even if you don’t think you were physically hurt, you may want to be checked for internal injuries, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases as soon as possible. Also, having a medical exam within 96 hours is best for collecting physical evidence of the sexual assault. Even if you are not sure about filing a police report, it can be reassuring to have the evidence in case you decide to press charges later. If you are University of Michigan affiliated (student, staff, or faculty), you can call the SAPAC 24-hour crisis line (above) to have a sexual assault advocate accompany you and provide information and support during your ER visit. If you are not University of Michigan affiliated, you can call the SAFE House 24-hour crisis line (above) to have an advocate accompany you and provide information and support during your ER Visit. The emergency rooms (ERs) at UM Hospitals (936-6666) and St. Joseph’s Hospital (572-3000) can provide both a medical exam and evidence collection for sexual assault survivors, as well as emergency contraception and STD medication. If you believe you may have been drugged, evidence may be collected through a urine sample. Even though date rape drugs tend to dissolve quickly, they sometimes remain in the urine, so if it is possible to wait to use the bathroom until you arrive at the ER and meet with a nurse examiner, this may be advantageous in terms of evidencecollection. Please know that if you seek evidence collection through an ER, the police will be contacted; however, it is up to you whether to file a police report. You can also call University Health Services (UHS, 764-8325) for a medical examination, available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 8am-2pm and Thursday 9am-2pm.
- Report to the Police: You can contact SAPAC for assistance in reviewing your reporting options. Whether to file a police report is your decision, and you do not have to make it immediately. However, if you decide to file a report, it would be advantageous to your case to do this as soon as possible. If you are making an immediate police report, you may be able to preserve evidence in the following ways: not washing, bathing, or brushing your teeth; not removing sheets or clothes; and not straightening up or touching anything in the area where the assault took place. A SAPAC advocate can accompany you if you decide to make a police report or provide more information about the evidence collection exam. If the sexual assault took place on campus, you can call the U of M Police Department at 911 (from an on-campus phone) or 763-1131 (from an off-campus phone). To make a report if the sexual assault took place off campus, call the local police at 911.
- Seek additional supportive counseling: Regardless of whether you get a medical examination or report the assault, you may want help to deal with the impact of the assault. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers comprehensive therapeutic services to help you through the recovery process. Call 764-8312 for an appointment. SAPAC can also provide referrals for counselors and therapists in the Ann Arbor community.
- Investigate additional options: Other reporting options exist, including civil proceedings, the Office for Institutional Equity and/or the Office of Student Conflict Resolution (OSCR). OSCR administers the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities and provides an avenue for informal conflict resolution on campus. A SAPAC advocate can help you explore these options.
To find out about your rights and options around sexual assault as a member of the University of Michigan community, call SAPAC or view the University’s Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. For more information on the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, please go to:
To find out more about the medical exams now offered at UHS, please go to: http://www.uhs.umich.edu/sexual-assault-exam/