“I was sexually assaulted. What are my options?”
If the assault was recent:
Everyone handles crisis differently but your safety, physical, and emotional well-being are the first concerns. If the assault just happened, try to get to a safe place where you do not feel at risk of further danger. If you still feel in danger, you can call 911 to connect with law enforcement.
When someone is sexually assaulted, the first instinct is often to bathe/shower. It is best for the sake of evidence collecting to avoid bathing until after a forensic medical exam at your local hospital emergency room.
You may choose to go to the hospital
Going to the hospital for an exam can help identify any injuries, protect you from STI’s, and address pregnancy concerns. You can choose to have evidence collected by medical staff within 7 days of the assault. Even if you have bathed, they may still recover evidence and they can evaluate any injuries to determine what follow up care may be needed. You do not need to speak to the police if you seek medical care for an assault.
Medical treatment and evidence collection following a sexual assault can be provided at hospital emergency departments. Locally, Presence St. Mary’s, Riverside, and Iroquois Memorial emergency departments provide this service. Additionally, both Kankakee hospitals have staff with specialized training in treating survivors of sexual assault – SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners). A SANE’s expertise offers survivors many benefits. If you or a loved one is trying to decide where to seek care, please keep this in mind.
There is no cost to you for this initial emergency exam. The hospital will bill SASETA (Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act) directly for the cost of the exam.
The most important thing is to get some assurance from a doctor that you are physically well.
A Clove Alliance advocate will come to the hospital to support you. You are not required to talk with the advocate but they can provide you with information, options, and support.
You may choose to call the police.
Reporting sexual abuse or assault to the police is an individual choice for adult survivors. You can contact your local police department via 911 or go to the station to make a report. A Clove Alliance advocate can meet you at the station to support you through the process.
You may choose to call Clove Alliance.
Remember, you are not alone! Our advocates will meet you at the hospital, police station, or will just listen if you need someone to talk to. No matter when the assault happened, we will let you know what your options are so you can make informed choices. Do not hesitate to call our 24 hour crisis hotline to speak with an advocate—just dial 815.932.3322. We can talk you through what you can expect from a medical exam or the initial police report. The advocate can also connect you with our follow-up services which can include counseling and legal advocacy.
If the assault was not recent:
It is never too late to get support and talk about what happened. Our Legal Advocates can help you understand your legal options and our Medical Advocates can accompany you to medical appointments to be screened for injuries, STI’s, and pregnancy. Our counselors are available to survivors regardless of when the assault or abuse occurred. Call our 24 hour crisis hotline to speak with an advocate today—just dial 815.932.3322.