What to do if you have been sexually assaulted

The Law Center's Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Liaison can assist with arrangements for emergency medical care and other support services. Talking to the Liasion does not obligate you to report the sexual assault, but you can also confidentially discuss reporting options. Please contact Nicole Sandoz at (202) 662-9293 or

If you have been sexually assaulted:

  • Get to a safe place.
  • Avoid washing, douching, brushing your teeth, or changing your clothes. This could be difficult, but if you wash you may destroy evidence that will be needed if you decide to report the crime to the police and go through with adjudication.
  • Call someone. No matter how late it is, you should not be alone. Call a friend, Residence Life staff member, or the DC Rape Crisis Center.
  • Seek medical attention from a private doctor, clinic, or hospital emergency room.

Medical Needs and Hospital Procedures  

You are urged to seek medical attention within 96 hours of the sexual assault. Take the clothes that you were wearing at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a paper bag. It is important to avoid storing the clothes in a plastic bag in order to preserve evidence. You should also bring a change of clothes.

When you arrive at the clinic or emergency room, tell the staff that you have been sexually assaulted. When you are seen by a doctor, she or he will ask you about the assault and your general medial history. Emergency Room staff can:

  • Determine if you have been injured in any way, including internal injuries of which you may be unaware
  • Screen you for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, and
  • Collect medical evidence for possible future prosecution.

You have the right to request that a physician in the Emergency Room collect evidence from your clothing and body. The evidence kit will be stored at the Washington Hospital Center for up to 90 days while you consider whether you want to make an official report. The gathering of evidence does not commit you to pursuing a complaint or prosecuting the assailant.

If more than 96 hours have passed since the sexual assault, it is still important to seek medical attention. The Student Health Center at main campus is available to screen for internal injuries, sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. If you have difficulty meeting the costs of the post-assault exam, follow-up medical treatment, or counseling, you can contact the Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Liaison for assistance.

If the assault happened some time ago,

  • You may just be realizing that you still have options available to you,
  • You may still need medical attention for treatment of injuries or symptoms related to the abuse, and
  • You may want to consider seeking counseling.

Unresolved experiences of sexual assault can have long-term psychological and social effects. The Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Liaison is available to help you explore the following options no matter when the sexual assault occurred:

  • Seeking counseling or medical services,
  • Reporting the incident to the police,
  • Pursuing campus judicial processes,
  • Receiving academic or administrative assistance, and/or
  • Accessing other support resources.

Remember, the sexual assault was not your fault and you are not alone. There are people at Georgetown who are here to assist you.

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