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For Victims of Sexual Assault

What if it happens to me?

Call Vera House at 315-468-3260 any time of the day or night--we are waiting to help.
A TTY crisis line is also available for the Deaf Community during business hours at 315-484-7263.

In other areas, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE [4673]. Your call will automatically be routed to the Rape Crisis Center nearest you.


Wanting to wash, shower, and change clothes is a natural impulse after a sexual assault, but wait. If you have not done so already, do not: 

  • take a bath or shower 
  • brush your teeth 
  • go to the bathroom 
  • douche 
  • change your clothes 
  • brush your hair
  • eat or drink anything

As uncomfortable as you may be, if you can avoid doing any of these things, you will preserve evidence that can help convict the person who raped you. If you have already washed up, don't worry--but don't wash any more. If you have taken off the clothes you were wearing when you were assaulted, put them in a clean shopping bag and take them with you to the hospital.

Go directly to the hospital emergency room. If you have already called Vera House, a counselor will meet you there. If not, ask the hospital to call Vera House for you. We will be there as soon as possible. At the hospital, a nurse will offer to call the police for you. This is your choice. The police will not be called automatically, either by the hospital or by Vera House staff. This is to protect your privacy. There are some circumstances in which hospital staff are required to notify the police: if a gun or knife was used or if there is reason to suspect child sexual abuse. How much or little you choose to tell the police in these cases is still your choice; the intent is to protect you or someone else from further harm in these grave situations.

In the days, months and years after the sexual assault, you may feel a wide variety of feelings: fear - anger - betrayal - humiliation - preoccupation with pregnancy, disease or death - anxiety - depression - and many others. Your feelings may depend to some degree on the circumstances of the assault, such as whether or not the attacker was someone you knew, such as an acquaintance, date or friend. You might feel OK for a while and then have difficult feelings later on, even years later, triggered by some other event or reminder. No matter what you feel, or when, remember that help is available at Vera House.

How Vera House helps . . .

HOTLINE
The hotline provides 24-hour telephone support for people who have been sexually abused, sexually assaulted or raped, recently or at any time in the past, and for family members in need of support. The Vera House staff and volunteers are available to talk any time about a recent assault or something that happened years ago. The hotline can be the first point of contact with a Vera House Victim Advocate. Call 315-468-3260 at any time, or our TTY crisis line during regular business hours at 315-484-7263.

CRISIS INTERVENTION
Victim Advocates provides 24-hour support at Onondaga County hospitals or police stations. An Advocate will meet victims of sexual abuse, sexual assault or rape at the hospital or police station and help them get through the medical examination and, if the victim chooses to report the assault to the police, the reporting process. Although we recommend reporting assaults to law enforcement, the decision is yours.

MEDICAL ATTENTION
A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) will meet victims of recent sexual assault or rape at most Syracuse hospitals (except Community General and the VA Medical Center). Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are RNs with specialized training. They perform medical examinations, collect forensic evidence and test for pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. They provide emergency contraception (EC) to prevent pregnancy and medications to prevent HIV and AIDS. SANE Nurses are caring and compassionate.

COUNSELING
Vera House Counselors provide individual, group and family counseling for survivors of sexual abuse, sexual assault or rape, as well as for family members in need of support. Counseling is available for female and male victims of all ages, whether they need help immediately after the abuse or assault or many years later. Specialized individual, family and group counseling services to meet the unique needs of youth affected by sexual abuse and/or domestic violence is also offered.
 

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