Slide1The White House recently released a report that stated 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted at college. At colleges and universities across the US, the date rape drug is often at the center of these sexual assaults. Knowing that so many women were being assaulted motivated me to write my book, Accused.

But, what do you do if you feel that you’ve been sexually assaulted while under the influence of a date rape drug? And, how do friends or family members help a person who has been sexually assaulted?

 

If you believe that you’ve been sexually assaulted, go to the hospital emergency room. If possible, have a friend take you. Don’t bathe, douche, urinate, wash your hands, change clothes, eat or drink before you go to the emergency room. There may be evidence on your body and/or on your clothing. The evidence must be preserved as much as possible.  Once you’re at the hospital, call the police.  Tell the police everything that you remember. The police are there to find the perpetrator not to judge you. So, be honest about all of your activities. Telling the truth will be most helpful in finding the perpetrator.

 

Many victims of sexual assault feel guilty for going to a party, for drinking alcohol, for dancing with strangers, but nothing that you do –including drinking alcohol or doing drugs–can justify rape. The feeling of being violated is often difficult to overcome. But, there are hotline counselors as well as campus counselors to help you process your feelings. The National Sexual Assault Hotline is 24 hours to speak with victims at 800-656-HOPE.

 

Friends and family members should be supportive but many of us don’t know how.  Here are some tips:

  1. Listening when and if the victim wants to talk. You don’t have to ask them specific questions, but be willing to be a non-judgmental good listener.
  2. Let your loved one know that you don’t blame them for what happened. Many victims feel guilty even though being raped wasn’t their fault.
  3. Be patient. Your loved one may take a while to feel better or get back to “normal.” Give them time to heal.
  4. Offer to accompany them to a support group. Sometimes it’s intimidating to go to a new place by yourself. But, when a friend or family member is willing to go with you, it encourages you.
  5. Let your loved one know that you believe in them. It seems like a simple thing but many victims begin to feel badly about themselves after being raped. Let your loved one know that you support them, love them and believe in them.

 

Please share this article with anyone that you feel could use this information. Many victims suffer in silence.  I’d love your comments and feedback. Feel free to email me yshiraz AT yasminshiraz dot net or on twitter @yasminshiraz.

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