What to do for a Victim of Sexual Assault

It is important that the victim of sexual assault understand that no matter where they were, the time of day or night assaulted, what they were wearing, or what they said or did, if they did not want the sexual contact, then the assault was in no way their fault.  To be of assistance to a survivor one should:

  • Listen without judging;
  • Let them know the assault(s) was not their fault;
  • Let them know they did what was necessary to prevent further harm;
  • Reassure the survivor that he or she is cared for and loved;
  • Encourage the sexual assault victim to seek medical attention;
  • Encourage the survivor to talk about the assault(s) with an advocate, mental health professional or someone they trust; and
  • Let them know they do not have to manage this crisis alone.

Reporting the Assault

The decision to report a sexual assault lies within the discretion of the sexual assault survivor.  If a sexual assault survivor plans to report the assault to law enforcement, it is crucial for evidentiary reasons that they do not:

  • Shower, bathe, or douche;
  • Throw away any clothes that were worn at the time of the assault;
  • Brush or comb their hair;
  • Use the restroom;
  • Brush their teeth or gargle;
  • Put on makeup;
  • Clean or straighten up the crime scene; and
  • Eat or drink anything.

Contact the Local Sexual Assault Agency

Most community’s have an agency that provides support services to survivors of sexual assault as well as community prevention and education.  Contact your local agency to provide counseling and other support services to the victim. Many times, the agency will also provide support groups to loved ones and family of the survivor who many times have to deal with their own feelings about the victimization of someone they care about.

Tahoe SAFE Alliance provides services to sexual assault survivors in North Lake Tahoe and Truckee communities.  If you or a loved one has been assaulted, please call 1-800-736-1060.


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