Get help immediately. Call 911. Police officers will come to where you are and take you to a hospital, so that you can be treated and DNA evidence can be collected. The hospital will photograph any injuries.
If you don’t want to report what happened to you, you should still go to the hospital, both for your own health AND so evidence can be collected, which will make a stronger case if you later decide to make a report. Be sure to tell a family member or friend at once. Seek advice from someone you trust, so that you feel safe and get medical attention.
Even if you were sexually abused in the past, you can still make a report, by calling your local police agency.
Some victims of sexual abuse may be unsure if a crime was committed. For instance, some victims do not know that in this country a husband may not force his wife to have sex with him. Some victims may not remember clearly what happened to them, particularly when drinking is involved. If you think you may have been sexually abused, you should contact law enforcement authorities.
The local law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney’s Office have special sex crimes units with detectives and lawyers trained to handle these cases. They have a lot of experience and are trained to be sensitive to your concerns as a survivor of sexual abuse. They will make you comfortable, explain the steps of the process to you, and answer your questions. Most of all, they understand that what happened to you is not your fault.
If you know who attacked you, the police may be able to make an arrest. Even if the person is a stranger to you, other evidence may be able to identify him. You may need to go to the police station to view a line-up or help the detectives with parts of the investigation. After the arrest, a Assistant District Attorney in the Sex Crimes Unit will be assigned to your case. An ADA will work with you from the beginning to the end of your case.
The criminal case begins with the defendant being brought before a judge, who will decide whether or not to set bail. An ADA can ask the judge to issue a no contact order. This order will tell your assailant that he may not come near you, or contact you in any way. Although in most cases the defendants plead guilty, some do go to trial. The ADA assigned to your case will get you ready to testify, if that happens.
In some cases, the victim never sees the face of the person who did the attack. DNA evidence can prove who did the crime, even if you can’t identify anyone. Evidence collected by the police at the crime scene, such as bed linens, clothing, and items touched by the offender, plus physical evidence collected at the hospital, can identify the person who committed the crime. The police can also gather other types of physical evidence, such as surveillance videos and telephone and computer records, that can help identify your attacker.