1. Get to a Safe Place
- After experiencing a traumatizing event such as sexual assault, it can be important to find a place where you feel comfortable and safe from harm. This location could be:
- friend’s room
- local hospital
- police station
2. Call for Assistance
- Call 911 or Public Safety for immediate police protection and assistance; OR
- Call a Peer Advocate from the Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center, (212) 854-HELP (available 24/7 during the academic year)
3. Seek Medical Attention
- To check for injuries; you may have injuries that you can't see or feel
- To prevent sexually transmitted infections
- To prevent pregnancy
- To collect evidence (Evidence collection does not require you to place a report with the police or press charges; it preserves these options for the future.)
Medical Services (Columbia University, Morningside campus)
Student Health Service (Columbia University Medical Center)
St. Luke's Emergency Department at (212) 523-3335: 24-hour specialized sexual assault forensic examiners (SAFE)
Roosevelt Hospital Emergency Department at (212) 523-4000: 24-hour specialized sexual assault forensic examiners (SAFE)
4. Preserve Evidence
- For the purposes of evidence collection, we suggest that you avoid:
- brushing your teeth
- combing your hair
- changing your clothes
- If you have done any of these things, evidence can still be collected and remains important to seek medical attention.
- If you have changed your clothes, take the clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault to the hospital in a paper bag (not a plastic bag).
- If you have not changed your clothes, it may be a good idea to bring a change of clothes to the hospital.
5. Consider Talking with a Counselor
- Counseling is often helpful for survivors because it provides a safe place to talk about your experience and your feelings.
Peer counseling (all Columbia students)
Counseling and Psychological Services (Morningside campus students)
Center for Student Wellness (CUMC students)
Rosemary Furman Counseling Center (Barnard students)
- Reporting the crime
- Filing a complaint
- Remembering it's not your fault
For a full list of community or local resources, please view our health resource section for survivors of sexual assault.
If you know someone who has been sexually assaulted, please check our Health Library for more information about what you can do to help a friend.