What to do if you have been sexually assaulted?

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:

  • home
  • friend’s room
  • local hospital
  • police station
  • If you would like to have a Survivor Advocate meet or accompany you to a local hospital or New York City  Precinct please call (212) 854-HELP/4357 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year)

2. Call for Assistance

  • Call 911 or Public Safety for immediate police protection and assistance OR:
  • Call a professional Survivor Advocate or Peer Advocate from the Sexual Violence Response & Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center, (212) 854-HELP/4357 (available 24/7, 365 days per 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 and obtain prophylaxis medication
  • To prevent pregnancy
  • To collect evidence - Evidence collection does not require you to place a report with the police; this process preserves evidence for the future (this may vary by state).

Medical services/resources:

  • Medical Services (Columbia University, Morningside Heights)
  • Columbia University Medical Center Student Health Services (Columbia University Medical Center)
  • Barnard Primary Care Health Service (Barnard College)
  • St. Luke’s Hospital Emergency Department (212) 523-3330, 114th & Amsterdam
  • Roosevelt Hospital Emergency Department (212) 523-6800, 59th & 10th Ave.
  • Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center: Domestic and Other Violent Emergencies (DOVE) (212) 305-9060, West 168th and Broadway
  • Crime Victims Treatment Center Mount Sinai/St. Luke’s Hospital (212) 523-4728, call for appointment
    Hours: Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

4. Preserve Evidence

For the purposes of evidence collection, if possible, avoid:

  • drinking
  • eating
  • showering
  • 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.

Counseling services/resources:

6. Consider

  • Reporting the crime to law enforcement
  • Visiting the Sexual Violence Response and Rape Crisis Anti-Violence Support Center and enlisting confidential support around reporting rights (On and off campus), on-campus accommodations, and on and off campus referrals
  • Filing a complaint with the Office of University Life and Community Standards
  • Remembering it's not your fault
  • Seeking out a friend or other support person to be by your side

If you know someone who has been sexually assaulted, please contact Sexual Violence Response at (212) 854-HELP for support and information.

Last updated September 18, 2015