If you have experienced or think you may have experienced sexual misconduct, help is available. 

If you are concerned about safety or need medical attention, call 9-1-1 or go to a local medical facility. You can make a report to the police while at a medical facility as well.

If there are no safety risks or serious injuries, go to a place in which you feel safe and contact a friend or family member you trust to stay with you, and consider contacting a campus or community resource for support as well.

Common Responses to Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct of any kind can result in a host of reactions—some are immediate, some can be long term. The variety of reactions may depend on the survivor's previous life experience, the kind of force used and the relationship of the offender to the survivor, among other factors. Most survivors experience levels of fear, anger, self-blame, depression and anxiety that can be exhibited emotionally, physically and even socially. Difficulty sleeping and concentrating, social withdrawal, nightmares, flashbacks and emotional numbing are all common reactions to sexual misconduct. These reactions are all normal, and you are not alone in experiencing them.

Steps to Consider

You may wish to consider the following options as you decide how to proceed.

Preserving Evidence

In the event you decide later that you want to report the assault or pursue filing a complaint, it is important to preserve evidence.

  • Save all clothing you had on at the time of the assault and place them in a paper bag.
  • Save any sheets, blankets or towels you came in contact with during or after the assault.
  • Try not to rinse your mouth, brush your teeth, go to the bathroom, bathe, wash, shower or douche until you have been seen by a medical professional.
  • Save relevant text messages, instant messages, voicemail and other communications that may be useful to investigators.

Seeking Medical Attention as Soon as Possible

You are encouraged to contact a sexual assault treatment center, like Pillars Care Center, for victim advocacy. If you seek emergency assistance, the trained professionals—including Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE), specially trained to care for victims of sexual assault—can collect necessary physical evidence. You have the option to avoid the process of collecting forensic evidence. Health care professionals can treat injuries and take steps to address concerns of sexually transmitted diseases and/or pregnancy.

The Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act (SASETA) will cover emergency room costs, including any medications you receive. The hospital should not bill you for any treatment. If an advocate is present, she can answer any questions related to SASETA and will help to ensure that you are not charged for your treatment.

Reporting the Sexual Misconduct

Although we strongly encourage immediate reporting of sexual misconduct to law enforcement and to the University, you have a choice whether to make such a report.

Seeking Other Assistance and Support

You may choose to seek support from the resources listed in the right-hand column.

Remember: It is not your fault, you have choices and you are not alone. There are resources on campus and in the community to provide support and help you.

Content on this page is used/edited, with permission, from the University of Illinois We Care website.