What to do if you have been sexually assaulted

If you have been sexually assaulted, it is not your fault. Help is available.

Healing from an assault may take time, but it is possible. No one deserves to be assaulted. Help is available through Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention & Prevention.  We are here 24/7 to assist you!  During normal business hours contact us at (803) 777-8248, afterhours call (803) 777-4215 and ask for the SAVIP advocate on call.

Call the police 
Contact the USC Police Department at (803) 777-4215.

Report the assault 
Reporting the assault is not the same as prosecuting. The decision to prosecute can be made later. If the assault occurred on campus, University Police should be notified at (803) 777-4215. If the assault took place off-campus, local law enforcement will handle the case. The police will take an initial report and then transport you to the hospital for medical attention. The SAVIP advocate can accompany you to the hospital.  Try to avoid showering, bathing, douching, eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth so that evidence will not be disturbed. Clothing worn during the assault should be saved in a paper bag, and the location at which the assault took place should not be disturbed.

Reasons to Report the Assault
Reporting the crime helps you to regain a sense of personal power and control. Reporting assists you in accessing specialized medical care. Reporting helps preserve evidence which could be valuable if you decide later to prosecute. Reporting helps you to resolve concerns about personal safety and security. Reporting does not mean prosecution is certain, but if pursued later, the first steps have been taken. Reporting the incident to the Equal Opportunity Programs Office at (803) 777-3854, can ensure that your Title IX rights are protected.  Reporting the incident to the Office of Student Conduct at (803) 777-4333 can ensure access through the school’s judicial process.  A SAVIP advocate can assist you with these reporting options.  You can even report anonymously to SAVIP at http://www.sa.sc.edu/shs/savip/asarf/

If you choose not to Report the Assault
Reporting the crime to the police is important, however, you can still get medical assistance and assistance from a SAVIP advocate even if you choose not to file a police report.  An advocate can be reached by contacting the SAVIP office at (803) 777-8248 during normal business hours.  Afterhours please call the USC Police Department at (803) 777-4215 and requesting the advocate on call afterhours.  Again this does not mean you have to file a police report.  The dispatcher will put you in contact with the advocate on call. 

Seek medical attention
If the assault occurred within 72-hours
: Receiving medical attention is important immediately after an assault regardless of whether you decide to report the assault to the police or follow through with the charges. Medical attention will determine the presence of physical injury, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy. Go to Palmetto Richland Emergency Room (803) 434-7000 for the most appropriate care.  You don’t have to go alone; an advocate can accompany you to the exam.

Hospital personnel, which are called Forensic Nurse Examiners (FNE’s), are prepared to conduct a standardized medical exam known as a "sexual assault exam." This exam ensures relevant evidence is collected and certain observations are recorded. The cost of the exam is covered by special government state funds set aside for crime victims. If you go to the hospital before calling police, the hospital will usually contact law enforcement. However, if you let them know that you do not want to pursue reporting, you are not required to file a report when the police arrive at the hospital. However, in order for the cost of the rape protocol exam to be covered by the state, a police report must be filed. However, this does not obligate you to pursue criminal charges. Questions regarding the sexual assault exam and state assistance can be directed to Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention & Prevention at (803) 777-8248.

The hospital may also call Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands.  These are community advocates much like the SAVIP advocate from USC.  These volunteer advocates may also arrive at the hospital to support the survivor throughout the exam. A survivor/witness advocate from law enforcement should also be available. An SAVIP advocate will be contacted to accompany/meet you at the hospital and/or provide follow-up services. Follow-up services include academic assistance, safety planning, and advocacy through the criminal justice system, through the school’s conduct process, follow up medical services, counseling and security matters (lock change, room change, phone number change, etc.), support groups, and other specialized services. All of these services are free and confidential.

If the assault occurred more than 72-hours ago
Many survivors of sexual assault do not come forward until days, weeks, months, or even years after the assault. If the assault occurred more than 72 hours ago, all of the same procedures apply with the EXCEPTION of the necessity to go to the hospital for evidence collection (sexual assault exam.) You should still report the assault to the police, applicable on campus offices and go to a medical center to check for internal injuries, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy. The type and extent of police involvement, medical exam, and counseling will depend on the amount of time that has lapsed since the as salt.

Seek emotional support and legal assistance
Advocates from the office for SAVIP are available 24-hours a day to provide support, information, advocacy, and referrals. Call (803) 777-8248 and (follow the emergency prompt system after business hours) to contact an advocate. No matter when the assault occurred, you can contact SAVIP for support and assistance.
Students may also receive free and confidential counseling at the USC Counseling & Human Development Center (803) 777-5223.

Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands provides free and confidential services to survivors of adult and child sexual assault to the local community at (803) 771-7273 24-hour hot line.

Healing from an assault may take time, but it is possible. No one deserves to be assaulted. Help is available. Call (803) 777-8248 or stop by the lower level of the Thomson Student Health Center for support and assistance.