About Abuse

Sexual Assault / Rape

Updated: 
March 10, 2016

What can I do if I have been sexually assaulted recently?

Many people in society do not understand the extent of trauma endured by rape and sexual assault victims.  If you do not have visible physical injuries from the assault, friends and family may think you are okay.  However, there may be physical and psychological injuries that you (and others) can’t see.


These are some suggestions you may want to consider to get the practical and emotional support you may need.  Depending on what you think is best in your situation, you may do any or all of the following:


  • Get to a safe place (for example, the nearest hospital, police precinct, or someone’s home).
  • You can call 911 or go to your local police precinct to report the assault and to ask for a criminal investigation to begin. The police should investigate and may arrest the offender.  (If the offender is charged with a crime, you may be issued a criminal court order of protection automatically.)
  • You may be able to file for a civil protection order and receive an immediate, ex parte temporary protection order to keep the offender away from you.  There are specific requirements that must be met to file for a civil protection order – you can read about the orders available in your state on our Restraining Orders page.
  • Call the nearest rape crisis program for crisis intervention, hospital accompaniment, counseling, courtroom advocacy, support groups for you or your partner, information and referral.  There are also 24-hour hotlines that you can call at any time for support and to discuss your options for reporting the assault.
  • Go to your local hospital emergency room for immediate medical care to check for injury, prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, get counseling and collect evidence.  Evidence collection does not require you to place a report with the police or press charges; it just preserves these options for the future. For the purposes of evidence collection, you might want to avoid showering, combing your hair or changing your clothes before going to the hospital.  Many states have a crime victim compensation program that can assist you with ongoing medical and counseling expenses and other expenses related to the assault.  Your local rape crisis program can provide more information about this process and your rights as a crime victim. You will find sexual assault organizations listed here on the RAINN website.  You can also find advocates at local domestic violence and sexual assault programs on our Advocates and Shelters page.
  • Tell someone you trust who can support and assist you.*
  • If you are a student, you may be able to file a complaint with your school’s administration and/or receive counseling services.  See our What if I am sexually assaulted or raped at school? question for more information.

 * See NYC Alliance against Sexual Assault