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If you are a survivor of a sexual assault, the sooner you seek help, the more options you have. However, regardless of when the assault occurred, it is never too late to reach out for support.
 

What to Do if You Are a Survivor of Sexual Assault

  • If the sexual assault has occurred recently try and get away from the person who assaulted you and to a safe place as soon as possible. If you are worried about your safety, contact campus safety and security or call 911.
  • Come to the Counseling Center Monday-Friday 9 AM- 5 PM. The Counseling Center is the only confidential resource on campus. Counseling is a supportive resource which can help you throughout your process of recovery in addition to navigating difficult decisions you might be faced with.
  • Seek support:  Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support; feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are normal.  Call a trusted friend or family member. Remember that you do not have to face this alone.
  • If you are interested in pursuing action regarding the assault, talk with Iona’s Title IX Coordinator about your options. The Title IX Coordinator will review your choices and resources both on and off campus. To find out more about Title IX click here.
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What to Expect After a Sexual Assault

Everyone reacts to sexual assault in their own unique way. You might express your emotions – you may talk, cry, or scream or you might prefer to keep your feelings inside. You might want to tell lots of people about the assault, or you might want to wait months or years before discussing the assault. It is important to remember that whatever way you feel is valid and your own individual style of coping. If you want additional support through this process, you can contact Iona College Counseling Center, at (914)633-2038, which is a confidential space to talk.
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How You Might Feel

Despite individual differences in style, there are stages that almost every survivor goes through. Listed are some emotions you may feel.
  • Fear: It is normal to feel afraid after being sexually assaulted. You might find it very hard to be alone at night, or in a setting like the one in which you were assaulted.
  • Anger: You may feel outrage at what happened. The anger may be towards the assailant, people you love, the world, or yourself.
  • Loss of Control: You might feel powerless. You were in a situation where you were robbed of control over your body.
  • Guilt: You may feel like it is your fault. We live in a culture that blames the survivor. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted.
  • You may also be feeling isolated, have difficulty sleeping, find you can’t eat, have nightmares or can’t concentrate.
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Time Sensitive Actions

You do not need to report to the police in order to get medical treatment or to have evidence collected.
 
If you want to get an evidence collection kit (“rape kit”), you should:
  • Not bathe, shower, brush your teeth or go to the bathroom. This is important to preserve evidence.
  • Not change your clothes. If you already have, you can place the original clothes in a clean paper bag.
  • Go to an emergency department that is a SAFE site within 120 hours of the assault (5 days).
  • A Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Program consists of certified nurses (SANE- Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner). They provide expert care necessary to increase prosecution of assailants. The SAFE program delivers the highest level of care to sexual assault victims accessing hospital emergency departments, 24 hours a day.
  • Iona College works with Montefiore Hospital who will bring you to Westchester Medical Center, which is a SAFE hospital.
  • If you are living off campus and need additional hospitals close to home, you can contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) for more SAFE hospitals or click here for a list of other hospitals in New York State
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Time Line for Medical Treatment

Within 72 hours:
  • Start HIV Prophylaxis if appropriate after assessment.
Within 96 hours:
  • Test for any drugs if you suspect being drugged.
Within 120 hours:
  • Get a medical examination at a SAFE site – SANE nurse whenever available.
  • Forensic evidence collection kit (rape kit) can be done.
  • Start pregnancy prophylaxis “morning after pill” if appropriate.
  • Get STI prophylactic treatment.
After 5 days:
  • You should see your own doctor.
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The amount of time a forensic evidence collection kit will be preserved varies by state and jurisdiction. In Westchester County it is held for 30 days, regardless of whether a police report has been filed. You can speak to the hospital to see if the evidence can be held for a longer period of time if needed. It is crucial that you know the kit # because all kits are stored anonymously. Under NY law, the amount of time you may file a police report is dependent on the crime which occurred. For more information regarding Criminal Statutes of Limitation please refer here.
If you have questions about your situation, you should consult with a legal advocate or attorney.
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