What to do if you are a victim of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking:
SAFETY FIRST! Go to a safe place as soon as possible following an assault. If you have immediate safety concerns, first call 911, then call the Campus Police at 254-295-5555.
SEEK MEDICAL ASSISTANCE: Regardless of whether you intend to report an assault to the police, if you have experienced sexual assault or violence, UMHB recommends that you get medical attention as soon as possible. You may have hidden injuries or need information about pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
PRESERVE EVIDENCE: Even if you have no immediate intention to report the incident to the police, preserving evidence will be important in case you later decide to press criminal charges or pursue university disciplinary action against another person. Physical evidence may also help you obtain an order from a court or the university requiring the other person involved to stay away from you.
- If you have been sexually assaulted, it is better if you DO NOT shower or bathe, douche, wash hands, use the toilet, brush your teeth, change clothing, or wash clothing or bedding. If you change clothes, carefully place all clothing worn at the time (or bedding) into a paper bag.
- At a hospital, a sexual assault examination (also known as a forensic examination) can be conducted to gather evidence, whether or not you intend to press criminal charges. This procedure includes a physical exam where a doctor or a trained nurse collects the evidence of the assault. You will need to bring an extra set of clothing. The clothing worn during the assault may be collected as evidence.
- If you believe you have been drugged, traces of the drug may still be detected for up to 96 hours after ingestion (depending on dosage, and individual metabolism). The chances of getting proof are best when the sample is obtained quickly. In general, evidence collection is best if done immediately following an assault. The more time that passes between the sexual assault and medical collection of evidence, the less likely it is that the evidence will be useful in the prosecution of a criminal case.
- It may be helpful for you to immediately write down everything you can remember about the incident, including what the assailant(s) looked like (e.g., height, weight, scars, tattoos, hair color, clothes); any unusual odor; any noticeable signs of intoxication; anything the assailant(s) said during the assault; what kinds of sexual activities were demanded and/or carried out; if weapons, threats, or physical force were used; and any special traits noticed (e.g., limp, speech impediments, use of slang, lack of erection, etc.). Writing it down will not only aid you in recalling details should you choose to report, it also can be empowering as it allows you an element of control in a situation where control had previously been taken away.
- Remember to preserve electronic evidence. Text messages, emails, voicemails, records of recent phone calls, and posts on social media may all provide critical evidence and should not be deleted from your cellphone, computer, or other device. Police or university investigators can help you document and preserve electronic evidence.