If you have experienced sexual, intimate partner violence, or stalking, get help as soon as possible.
- Get to a safe place.
- Call someone you trust. No matter how late it is, you should not be alone. Call a friend, a family member or someone else you trust and ask them to stay with you.
- Get immediate medical attention for possible injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy. Even if you think that you do not have any physical injuries, you should still have a medical examination and discuss the possibility of sexually transmitted infections with a medical provider. If you are female, you can prevent pregnancy by taking emergency contraceptive pills within 72 hours of the assault. See page 69 of this booklet for information regarding area hospitals. Or visit Rider’s Student Health Center Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Contact the Department of Public Safety (609-896-5029) if you would like to be transported to a hospital for examination.
- Do not clean up. It may be difficult to keep from cleaning yourself up, but if you do, you may destroy evidence that could be useful should you decide to report the assault to the police.
- Preserve all physical evidence. Do not bathe, shower, douche, eat, drink, smoke, or urinate, if possible. Save all of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. Place each item of clothing in a separate paper bag. Do not use plastic bags. Do not disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred. Evidence can be collected at an emergency room and you can decide later whether or not you want to report the incident to the police. If the crime happened in your room or apartment, do not clean or straighten up until all evidence has been collected. Even if you are not sure about reporting the assault, it makes sense to preserve the option of reporting until you make a final decision.
- Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances of the assault, including a description of the assailant, the assailant’s identity if you know it, and the use of threats or force.
- Consider reporting the assault to the University and/or law enforcement authorities. Reporting a sexual assault may be an important step in the recovery process and may help to prevent another assault. Reporting an incident to a University official does not mean you must also report the incident to law enforcement authorities.
See page 44 of this booklet for reporting information to the University and/or law enforcement. There you will also find important information regarding who best to speak to at the University and why, requesting confidentiality, and protective measures and accommodations.
If you consider reporting the incident to law enforcement authorities, a uniformed officer would respond to meet with you to file a police report. At that time a determination would be made as to whether or not additional resources are needed i.e. detectives, evidence collection and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. You could be transported to a medical facility for a forensic examination, at no cost to you, and asked to provide a typed written statement at the local police department.
- Consider calling Womanspace at 609-394-9000 or 800-572-SAFE and speak to a Rape Crisis Counselor. You can ask the counselor to activate the Mercer County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) if you desire. The SART consists of a Sexual Assault Advocate and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). You do not have to reveal your identity to the counselor.
If the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is activated, an Advocate and the SANE nurse will meet you at the Mercer County hospital of your choice. You also have the option of asking to have a police officer meet you at the hospital if you would like law enforcement to be notified. You DO NOT have to have law enforcement involved in order to have the advocate and SANE nurse meet you at the hospital. If you do not want police involved, they come to the hospital only to ensure that the evidence is sent to the NJ State Police Crime Lab after it is collected at the hospital. If you do not want to have police involvement right away, the evidence kit will still be kept, untested, for five (5) years.
What is a SANE nurse? Being examined at a hospital may be part of the process of dealing with a sexual assault. It is important to feel safe during this examination. Having someone trained to perform these particular examinations and who understands the trauma of rape can provide this sense of safety.
- Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are emergency room RNs who have completed specialized training to assist sexual assault victims. They perform the physical examination, collect evidence from your body, provide you with emergency contraception, treat minor injuries, work cooperatively with law enforcement agencies and the courts, and most of all support your needs.
- SANE nurses strive to preserve their patients’ dignity and ensure that survivors are not re-traumatized by the evidence collection process.
- SANE nurses are also trained in identifying patterned injury, documenting injuries, maintaining chain-of-evidence, and providing expert witness testimony.