Sexual Assault: Frequently Asked Questions
How can physical evidence be preserved?
It is normal for someone who has been sexually assaulted to want to feel “clean”; however, bathing and other actions can destroy important physical evidence. You should refrain from showering, drinking, eating, douching, urinating, chewing gum or changing clothes until a medical exam can be done. If clothing has already been removed, it should be placed in a paper bag or pillowcase (not a plastic bag).
What happens if I go to the ER?
- You have the choice to go to the Emergency Room for a sexual assault exam (cost normally covered by the Victim’s Fund established by the state) or medical attention (Emergency Room expenses will be billed to the student).
- You may also choose to have a medical exam done by College Health Services during office hours (8:30am – 5:00pm M-F). This cost is covered by the student health fee. If you go to the ER for a sexual assault exam, the hospital staff is required to call a Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center advocate and the police.
- If a sexual assault exam is requested, the victim must indicate that she/he is considering pressing charges so that a Rape Kit is made available to preserve evidence collected from the exam. This in no way obligates the victim to press charges but ensures that critical evidence is collected should a decision to press charges be made any time in the future. (Note: There is no statute of limitations on the crime of rape; however, rape kits are typically disposed of after 6 months).
The victim will be encouraged to provide a statement to the police officer before leaving the hospital. This statement accompanies the completed Rape Kit but it is not an agreement to press charges. A victim has the right to refuse to speak with a police officer or may choose to do so at a later date.
Do I have to talk to Public Safety and/or to a Police Officer?
No. You have the right to refuse to speak with Public Safety and/or to a police officer. You also have the right to speak with Public Safety and/or a police officer at a later date. Please keep in mind that critical evidence may be lost should you wait to make a statement and/or press charges and that a full investigation cannot be done without your cooperation.
What is involved in a sexual assault examination?
Either the ER doctor or, if requested, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) will conduct a thorough medical examination to assess for injury and collect evidence that can be used if charges are pressed. The exam takes 2-3 hours and requires a lengthy list of samples to be collected for analysis, including pubic hair, finger nails, vaginal or penile and anal fluids, pictures of bruises or wounds, etc.
If I had been drinking at the time of the assault, will I get in trouble for drinking if the sexual assault is reported?
The College is committed to caring for and supporting anyone who has been sexually assaulted regardless of the circumstances surrounding the assault. If there are alcohol, visitation, or other policy violations connected to an assault situation, accommodations can be made so that you are not penalized for these infractions.
What should I do if I am worried about seeing the other person around campus?
If you are concerned about your safety or reasonable comfort as you participate in campus events, class, or labor, the College will try to adjust housing assignments, class and labor schedules, etc. Depending on the circumstances, the College may also issue a Cease and Desist order limiting further contact between the individuals involved.