You can sum up the instructions in one sentence: Get to a hospital.

If you’re raped in your home and you’re sure your attacker is no longer present and you trust local authorities alone in your home, you can call police and have them drive you to a hospital while other officers collect evidence at the scene.

If you’re raped at a party, leave for the hospital as soon as possible, having a friend to drive you. Why shouldn’t you drive if there are other alternatives? You may think you’re capable, but your body has suffered a tremendous shock. Don’t take a chance on having a motor vehicle accident or giving your attacker’s attorneys grounds for casting doubt on your story.

Once at the hospital, personnel will call police for you. If you go to a large enough facility (ECM is one), a SANE will be called to do a rape kit. Police will briefly question you at the hospital and you’ll be allowed to go home. Rape Response will see to it that you have someone to stay with you if you live alone.

Remember: It’s of the utmost importance for authorities to collect physical evidence from your body. Do not bathe or even go to the bathroom if you can wait.

Recently Russellville Hospital was criticized for not having a rape kit for a 14 year-old attack victim. The hospital finally had one delivered from Red Bay Hospital. This will not happen at ECM, but you should still try to get to the closest hospital. If you are not treated professionally, make sure the public is aware of this. You don’t have to give your name, but make sure your family and friends report any problems you may have.

What if you don’t go to a hospital immediately? If you’ve been given a date rape drug, you may not be sure what has happened. You may have already bathed and washed the garments you were wearing at the time of the attack. If this has happened, it’s never too late to report the crime. There is no statute of limitations on sex crimes in this state.

If you don’t stop your rapist now, you can be sure there will be other victims.

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