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What to Do If You Are a Victim of Rape

Any type of forced sexual assault that you don't consent to is considered rape. It's a crime if the attacker is a stranger, if you know your attacker (85 percent of women do), if you're related to them, or even if they are your spouse. It's a crime even if you were drinking, doing drugs, given drugs, or too out of it to say no or fight back.

If you are the victim of a rape, here's what you should do:

  1. Get to a close, safe place.
  2. Immediately go to a hospital or ER. Don't shower or change your clothes. The doctor will examine you and collect evidence including pieces of hair, clothing fibers, saliva, and semen to be placed in a rape kit that may be later used by police or in a court of law.
  3. If you are using hormonal birth control or an IUC then pregnancy is not likely, but if you're not, the doctor may recommend you take emergency birth control (Plan B).
  4. Chances are that the rapist did not use a condom, so the doctor will most likely test you for STIs.
  5. Since being sexually assaulted can have huge emotional and psychological ramifications, a therapist may be recommended. It's a good idea to talk to someone about your experience to help you cope with the strong feelings of sadness, disbelief, fear, guilt, and anxiety you may have.

Unfortunately in this day and age, it's necessary for young women to know and talk about rape, so do your fellow females a favor and pass this important information onto the women in your life that you care about.

Source

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Join The Conversation
Hannawolf Hannawolf 7 years
I don't know if what happened to me is classified as rape or not, can someone inform me? I met my soon-to-be-ex-husband after having a bad breakup with another guy. We met at the library and while he sorta came on a little strong, my red-flag alerts didn't come up. I invited him over to my grandma's house where I was staying at that time to hang out. She'd gone to counsel at a church camp that week, so I had the house to myself. When his friend brought him over sometime around midnight, I showed him around the house, including the bedroom where I slept. He tried to start things and I tried to stop him, but hormones and the mood took over and we had sex. There was no restraint but I'd originally said no. Did I lead him on, was it consensual after all, or was it a form of rape?
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 7 years
This is great information for everyone though I hope NO ONE EVER HAS TO USE IT.
Sporky Sporky 7 years
Jeez, damaneko I am so sorry you went through this! My blood is boiling thinking about your a**hole coworker. If I knew you I'd kick his butt for you, over and over. Sending you a hug. And congrats on being strong. I was abused as a child, but not sexually or raped, something I am thankful for every day, although the abuse I suffered at the hands of my mom still has left its scars on me, physically and emotionally.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 7 years
This is an incredibly tough subject and I thank you Dear for bringing it up. I hope it helps someone.
annebreal annebreal 7 years
The only added advice I have to this post is to if at all possible bring someone trusted with you to the hospital, like a mother or sister, because rape kits are incredibly traumatic...also some hospitals in your area may be known for being especially compassionate to rape victims - in Indianapolis most hospitals have Centers of Hope, which deal specifically with sexual assault and rape victims, providing victim's advocates and crisis counselors, as well as legal aid and police officers already there - so you might want to become aware of those services now. Another thing if you're seeking referrals from a victim's advocate or victim's assistance (for any crime, really), you might want to pay attention to whether or not the counselor or counseling agency makes diagnoses. As dameneko said, many rape victims (and victims of other violent crimes, too) may suffer flashbacks and other symptoms of PTSD, and while treatment of these symptoms is completely necessary, the label of PTSD or any other mental illness/disorder could be damaging to your career/future because labels stick, and at least to me that's letting your attacker win in a way. Of course for medication a diagnosis is crucial, but sometimes to be careful it's better to see a psychologist or social worker first who would refer to someone for diagnosis/medication if it then seems necessary.
dameneko dameneko 7 years
dropstar, there is nothing wrong with you...lots of survivors have to deal with flashbacks. i recently had a very jarring one due to the way a sexual harassment incident i was involved with at work was being handled. i hadn't had such a debilitating one, one where i could not leave my house or barely get out of bed, for a few years. harassment at the job that i have had for nearly ten years triggered it. a coworker of mine vandalized my work email account nearly ten years ago when i started my job. he put a euphimism for penis as my email address instead of my actual name. it was some ten-year-old sh*t. i told him to fix it and i thought he did, but unbeknownst to me, he kept the alias but changed my email address to what i wanted. this meant that everyone who email me saw "my name" - "euphemism for penis"...everyone except me, until i had my computer upgraded and emailed something to myself. unfortunately, there was no way to prove he did it because 1)they did not keep logs from ten years ago, and 2)even if he did, he has enough buddies in IT to erase any evidence...in fact he was able to do that to my account in the first place because he was buddy-buddy with IT. so, i emailed my managers and HR about it, and the VP emails back and says that he has known about it for TWO MONTHS, but didn't tell me because we were going to change email servers later this year so he figured it WOULDN'T MATTER!! wouldn't matter?!?! to him, maybe, but it sure as hell mattered to me!! THAT was SOOOOOO triggering. then a friend of mine died of cancer at age 39 that same week. i could not go to work for two weeks. yes, flashback still happen, and they are still painful, but i get stronger every year. this episode and my friend's death reminded me that life is too short and too precious to waste in a toxic environment, so i have started looking for another job and plan on leaving by the end of this year (i'm a software engineer). i did not quit, though i thought about it. i would rather leave my job because i found a better one than leave because i was victimized. the HR at my work has been wonderful, the VP apologized to me, but unfortunately my coworker is being a jerk, a jerk in such a way that he can't get in trouble for. this includes intimidating actions like nearly slamming his bike into me when i'm crossing the street and trying to turn my teammates against me. such a waste of my time, energy, and emotion. some of the guys i work with are cool, some have a complete lack of social skills and are easily manipulated by "evil genious" types. flashbacks are very painful, but sometimes they are cathartic. learning to manage them is key, so is having a response plan in place before they happen. write your script so you will have some words to remind you that you are here and not there. talk to your friends so you will know who you can call if you are in need...and if you feel like you don't have anyone else to talk to, call a crisis hotline like RAINN. like i said before, a very large portion of the callers to these hotlines are people having flashbacks. it's not weird at all; it's part and parcel of the PTSD that often goes with having been raped. big hugs and best wishes to you all.
elizabelle elizabelle 7 years
nothing wrong with you dropstar... take dameneko's advice and get plugged into support. it helps. trust me.
dropstar dropstar 7 years
other people have flashbacks? thought there was something seriously wrong with me..
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 7 years
This is kinda of taboo, so I'm glad DearSugar posted something like this. I watch a lot of Law and Order SVU so I have learned a lot about what to do in that situations, and I prob. would have learned it at all if it wasn't for that.
mnp mnp 7 years
With date rape or rape by someone you know, it's so hard to distinguish where the fine line is... And, it's sad that we sometimes dismiss a woman's story by saying, "you lead him on". Such a touchy subject but it must be talked about!
dameneko dameneko 7 years
thank you, kikidawn. people should also know that many of these resources are for all people recovering from rape, not just recent victims. a lot of the callers to rape crisis centers are from people having flashbacks in their 30's, 40's, and beyond. flashbacks are a real problem for many survivors, and while there is no way to guarantee you will never have one again, you can learn to manage them. there many events that can trigger these, like hitting a milestone age, getting married, having a child, harassment at work. i have met people in group therapy who just started talking about their experiences 20, 30 years after they were last raped because the flashbacks became unbearable and they finally had to tell someone...they were surprised, but comforted, when they found out that the crisis hotlines had resources for them, too.
kikidawn kikidawn 7 years
Thank you for posting this Dear. It is so important to open communication to help with the healing process. dameneko, I'm so sorry for your experience.
kgtkgt kgtkgt 7 years
This is very important information for people men and women to know. I would also add that a person should connect there local crisis center or RAINN to help locate resources.
TheMissus TheMissus 7 years
Thanks for posting this, Dear Sugar. It's very helpful. And women (and men) do need to know what to do if something happens to them.
dameneko dameneko 7 years
great tips, dear...i think education like this needs to start in elementary school! 44% of rape victims are under 18, 80% under 30, **15% UNDER 12** unfortunately too many young people are afraid to get help because they were attacked by a family member or caregiver. i was raped repeatedly by a family member from ages 7 to 9. the way i was treated by my family because of it was the bigger, more soul-killing, nightmare. i have been in and out of therapy for over 20 years now and i heal a little more every year. i am here today because i had teachers and friends and friends' parents who cared. and LISTENED! it can be difficult to listen to a friend tell you about being raped, especially if they are a child, but if you could just listen, it will make a positive difference in their healing. people need to keep the dialog open and be open to hearing the truth, even when it hurts. the stats i cited are here: http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims this is an awesome forum for survivors: http://www.pandys.org/ best wishes to all survivors out there...it's sad that so many need these resources, but at least they're out there now, much more than they were 10 or 20 years ago.
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 7 years
I think it's a really good thing that rape can be talked about regularly. Victims need to know that it's okay to speak out and face their attackers because they did nothing wrong.
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