Medical Issues and Immediate Safety
What are my immediate options if I am sexually assaulted or raped or think I have been?
You can contact the SU Police at 863-1944 (if the assault occurs on campus) or call 911 if you are off campus. You should understand that, if a crime has occurred, police officers in the State of Texas may choose to pursue an investigation without your consent. Therefore, reporting an assault to the police does not remain confidential. If you are not ready to call the police, you can make a confidential call to the Williamson County Crisis Center Rape Hotline (also known as the Hope Alliance) at 800-460-SAFE. Crisis counseling is available 24 hours a day on that hotline.
If you want to talk with someone on campus, you can contact an SU Counselor by calling 863-1252 during business hours. You can contact the SU Nurse by calling 863-1555 during business hours. You can contact the University Chaplain by calling 863-1965 during business hours. Or you can contact a Counselor, the Nurse, the Chaplain after hours through the SU Police (dial 863-1944) and tell them you have an emergency and need to talk to one of the above.
What about medical attention?
To ensure your physical well-being, you need immediate medical care. The above mentioned resources can help you get to the appropriate hospital for a medical and/or forensic (SANE) exam. There are several hospitals in the area providing medical and SANE exams.
WILLIAMSON COUNTY SANE PROGRAMS
Cedar Park Regional Medical Center
1401 Medical Parkway
Cedar Park, Texas 78613
512-582- 7111 (ER)
Scott and White Healthcare-Round Rock
300 University Blvd
Round Rock, Texas 78665
St. David’s Medical Center-Round Rock
Round Rock Avenue
Round Rock, TX 78681
512- 341- 6428 (ER)
Johns Community Hospital-Taylor
305 Mallard Lane
Taylor, TX 76574
Williamson County Children’s Advocacy Center – Georgetown
Williamson County SANE Program
1811 SE Inner Loop
Georgetown, TX 78626
AUSTIN/TRAVIS COUNTY SANE PROGRAM
Austin/Travis County SANE Program
St. David’s Medical Center – Austin
919 E. 32nd Street
Austin, TX 78705
Dell Children’s Medical Center
4900 Mueller Blvd
Austin, Texas 78723
Children’s Advocacy Center of Texas
8509 FM 969 Building 2
Austin, TX 78724
You should not shower, bathe, douche, urinate, defecate, or brush your teeth. You should stay in the clothes you are wearing, or (if you have already changed) bring clothes, sheets, or anything that was in contact with you during the assault with you in a PAPER BAG (do not use plastic bags) or wrap them in a clean sheet. You should bring a change of clothes with you. If you have changed or cleaned up, you can still go to the hospital.
Do I have to go to the hospital?
You do not have to go to the hospital if you really don’t want to. But keep in mind that medical attention is necessary to; check for internal injuries you may not even be aware of; be treated for certain STDs; and get information about HIV/AIDS and pregnancy. Also, a hospital is the only place you can get a rape kit done. It may be a good idea to get a rape kit done even if you think you won’t want to press charges – many people change their minds later and want to press charges after all. You can do this as a “Jane Doe” which means that the collection of evidence part of the examination will then be paid for by the state. This gives you some time to decide if you want to press charges. Prophylactic medication to protect you against STDs or pregnancy will be billed to you separately. If you choose, you can pay for a rape kit out of pocket.
You can get checked for injuries, STDs, etc., and not get a rape kit. You will not have to make a police report to get general medical attention.
What will happen at the hospital?
When you get to the hospital, you will need to tell them that you were sexually assaulted in order to receive proper treatment. You do not need to give all of the details of what happened right away, but you should tell the nurse what kinds of physical violations you experienced (i.e., oral, vaginal, or anal penetration). This helps them know where to look for injuries and evidence (if you have a rape kit done). It is normal to feel uncomfortable discussing your assault, and you are allowed to ask any questions you have about procedures or medical concerns.
You have the right to be accompanied by a social worker, victims’ advocate, or even a friend or relative of your choice during the exam. The hospital should call a victims’ advocate for you, or you can call 800-460-SAFE. Alternatively, you also have the right to choose total privacy during the exam, so you can ask anyone other than necessary hospital personnel to leave.
In order to have physical evidence collected, you can file a report with the police, request a Jane Doe rape kit exam, or self-pay and have a rape kit done. A rape kit involves collecting evidence from the incident. It is collected by a specially trained SANE nurse (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner), who will collect hair, fluid and tissue samples. A gynecological exam will be done, and you will also be treated for any injuries and certain STDs. Pregnancy and HIV/AIDS testing options can be discussed, and they will give you information on follow-up testing.
How long do I have to get a rape kit done?
Bodily fluids must be collected within 72 hours of the incident—the sooner the better. Keep in mind that bathing, douching, brushing your teeth, or even just eating and drinking may eliminate crucial evidence. That is why it’s very important to be examined as soon as possible.
What kind of evidence is collected during a rape kit?
The trained SANE nurse will collect the following evidence: oral swabs; head hair combings; pulled head hair samples; debris collection (such as dried blood, semen, saliva, hair, dirt, leaves, and fibers that may be on you); anal swabs; vaginal or penile swabs; pubic hair combings; pubic hair samples; fingernail scrapings; blood sample; and a saliva sample.
For women, the pelvic exam performed during a rape kit will be similar to the exam you have probably received from your own doctor. If you have never had a pelvic exam before, be sure to tell the nurse or doctor.
Do I have to make a police report in order to get a rape kit done?
In the State of Texas, you must make a police report, file as a Jane Doe or self pay in order to have the evidence collected. Title IX states that once an official of the University or Police Department becomes aware of a sexual assault occurring they must investigate, regardless of your wishes. They will do their best to keep it anonymous, however anonymity cannot be guaranteed. Even if you don’t think you want to press charges, it may be a good idea to have a rape kit done to collect evidence in case you change your mind in the future (many people do!). You can’t get the evidence back once it’s gone, and it is very difficult to prosecute without physical evidence.
Is all of this confidential?
Your medical exam is protected by the same laws that govern confidentiality of all health records. The rape kit and police reports are part of the investigation of evidence, and thus, if the case proceeds, will be part of the legal record. However, you can request a pseudonym be used throughout the process and for any matters of public record.
Who pays for a rape kit?
If you file a report with a police agency they pay for the rape kit. If you file a Jane Doe exam, the state will pay for the collection of evidence. Medications prescribed will be billed to you. Again, self pay is another option. In addition, if you file a police report at a later time, you may be eligible for reimbursement by the State of Texas’ Victims’ Compensation Program for any related medical, emotional, or financial losses you suffered as a result of being the victim of a violent crime, even if the physical and emotional problems are not immediately apparent.
Can someone be with me during the rape kit exam?
Texas law specifically gives survivors of sexual assault the right and choice to have a trained advocate from the local crisis center in the room during a SANE exam. Often, the hospital or police will have already called the Williamson County Crisis Center (Hope Alliance) to send an advocate to the hospital. If not, you can call (800) 460-SAFE at any time. When the advocate arrives, he or she will introduce themselves and will provide support in any way possible. Survivors have the choice at all steps in the process if and how they would like an advocate involved.
If you are assaulted in Austin, you can request an advocate from SafePlace by calling (512) 267-SAFE.
How can a sexual assault advocate be of help to me?
Sexual assault advocates—whether from Williamson County Crisis Center (Hope Alliance) or from Austin’s SafePlace—can:
- Inform you of your options and rights, and help access the legal system and the SANE program.
- Provide a person familiar with the process to answer questions.
- Provide crisis intervention and ease the process.
- Provide an advocate that doesn’t have an investigative role.
- Stay with you and your loved ones through different stages of the investigative process.
- Help with immediate arrangements following completion of the SANE exam as needed (i.e. emergency shelter, safety plans).
- Inform you of the follow-up resources available, including medical care, psychological counseling, and the Victims’ Compensation Program.
- Serve as a liaison to the court system (if your case goes to trial), help you prepare for court, attend hearings with you, and even help you to write your victim impact statement.
What if I’ve been drinking/doing drugs? Will I get in trouble if I go to the hospital or talk to the police?
In most cases the police and medical personnel are going to be more concerned about your assault than any activities you were involved in at the time. This also applies to reporting with the school. Please do not hesitate to get help just because you were drinking or using drugs.
Should I worry about date rape drugs?
Date rape drugs are powerful sedatives or hallucinogens, such as Rohypnol (known as roofies, rope, roaches, R2), GHB, Burundanga, Ketamine, etc. These drugs can be easily slipped into drinks, and are generally tasteless, odorless, and colorless – so you don’t know they are there. They tend to take effect in about 15-25 minutes. All of these drugs produce similar results: blackout or incoherence for 2-8 hours.
How would I know if I’ve been drugged?
If you are drinking and experience a “high” far beyond what would be normal for the amount of alcohol you have had, you may have been drugged. Other symptoms include sudden dizziness, incoherence, loss of balance, or losing sense of time or place. If your drink tastes slightly salty or metallic, or if it turns blue, it may be a sign of a drug. However, most people who are drugged don’t taste, smell or see the drug.
The only way to know for sure if you’ve been drugged is to have someone get you to the hospital for testing as soon as possible.
What should I do if I think I’ve been drugged?
First, call a friend – you will need someone’s help to think and act clearly. If you have to go to the bathroom, collect urine in the cleanest jar or cup you can find and rubber band some plastic around the top. You will take this with you to the hospital. Although this may sound weird or gross, drugs tend to break down in your system very quickly, and collecting urine is a way of preserving the evidence.
Remember, before you go to the hospital, try not to clean up in any way (bathing, douching, brushing your teeth, or changing clothes).
After I leave the hospital, where should I go if I don’t feel safe going home?
An advocate from the Williamson County Crisis Center (Hope Alliance) can help you form a safety plan and decide where to go. If you don’t have a friend, or relative that you feel comfortable staying with for the night, the Williamson County Crisis Center provides emergency shelter as needed in safe, confidential locations.
Do I need to seek medical care in the weeks after the assault?
Absolutely. You should seek follow-up medical care six weeks after your initial visit. This appointment is necessary for testing for STDs and pregnancy. If any STDs were transmitted during your assault, they will likely not be detected immediately afterward, so follow-up testing is essential. Your follow-up exam can be with your personal doctor, a women’s clinic, with SU Health Services, or a free clinic. You may also ask your ER doctor to give you a referral.
In addition to the follow-up medical exam, please be aware that bruises may show up 6 to 21 days after the assault. If bruises appear, call the police investigators in your case so that pictures can be taken for evidence. I’m terrified that I may have gotten pregnant during the assault. What is emergency contraception?
Emergency contraception, better known as the “morning-after pill” is a safe and effective medication for the prevention of pregnancy after unprotected intercourse or rape. Sold under the brand names Plan B and Preven, it is essentially a high dose of the standard birth control pill.
Emergency contraception reduces the chances of getting pregnant following a sexual assault by about 75-89%, if taken within the first 72 hours after the assault. The sooner the pills are administered, the better the chances of preventing a pregnancy.
Please note that emergency contraception is not the same thing as an abortion. With emergency contraception, ovulation and implantation are prevented. If you are already pregnant, the morning-after pill will not affect you.
You can discuss where to obtain emergency contraception with the nurses or doctor in the ER, with your personal physician, with SU Health Services, or you can contact the toll-free hotline (1-888-NOT-2-LATE) or the website www.not-2-late.com.
Who can I call if I have other medical questions or concerns?
Feel free to contact SU’s Health Services at 512-863-1555 or the Williamson County Crisis Center (Hope Alliance) at (800) 460-SAFE.
Help for Sexual Assault/ Sexual Misconduct
Where to go? Who to talk to? Please download our PDF for a comprehensive, printable manual on Help for Sexual Assault/ Sexual Misconduct.