Being sexually assaulted can be an incredibly traumatizing experience. However, there are no “right” or “wrong” reactions when going through trauma. You are not alone.
You may be overwhelmed. Notice how you are feeling and consider seeking support.
You may be feeling a loss of control. Be kind to yourself in your healing process.
You may be blaming yourself for what happened. Sexual assault in never the survivors fault.
Talk To Someone
You may want to talk someone you trust. You may want to talk to a friend, family member or rape crisis advocate Getting emotional support through talking with an advocate, meeting with a therapist, or attending a support group can assist you in dealing with this trauma and can facilitate the road to recovery and healing. HOPE Works advocates are available to help you get in touch with a therapist or support group that fits your needs.
Seek Medical Attention
A medical exam after an assault gives the option to:
Detect and treat injuries
Discuss and preventatively treat for sexually transmitted infections and/or pregnancy
Discuss your risk of HIV transmission from the assault, and the possibility of HIV prophylaxis
Discuss and test for drugs that may have been used in the assault
Gather medical evidence in the event that you choose to report.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE Nurses) are specially trained nurses on call 24 hours a day. In Chittenden County, you may have a medical exam performed at the Emergency Room of the University of Vermont Medical Center.
HOPE Works Advocates are paged to every SANE exam at UVM Medical Center to give you the option of in-person support and advocacy.
There is a limited window of time in which evidence may be collected, so it is best to seek care for a SANE exam within approximately 72 hours of a sexual assault. Evidence collection is optional and a highly personal decision-- it is possible and valid to receive medical care without also having evidence collected.
See our resource page for medical care options available more than 72 hours following a sexual assault.
Report An Assault
If you report a sexual assault in Chittenden County to law enforcement, your case will most likely be handled by the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations (CUSI). The detectives at CUSI are trained to handle sexual assault and abuse cases. If you file a report, you will be asked to give a detailed account of the assault--your report is not a commitment to go to court. A HOPE Works advocate is available to answer your questions and help you with the process of reporting to the police. People who meet certain criteria may also be eligible for legal representation as they consider their legal options and/or participate in the prosecution of the offender. Advocates are also available to accompany and support you to court dates.