What To Do

As discussed in the “Identifiers and Situations” page, it is important to recognize red flags and avoid people that portray the characteristics of a perpetrator. If you feel like you are in danger, get out.

If you find yourself experiencing sexual assault, which may be in a strange place and the perpetrator is using force, here are tips to follow…

  • Utilize any training you have, such as self-defense that you may have learned or that you can find in this website
  • Any tools you have at your disposal including: mace/pepper spray, mini taser, and any weapon of opportunity that you can grab to defend yourself
  • Scratching is #1: it allows you to collect DNA by collecting skin cells, drawing blood, and depositing blood on you to gather evidence later on

After the assault has occurred…

  • Do not harm any evidence. This is the toughest thing for people to do since the first instinct is to clean yourself
    • Do not clean yourself if you want them to be caught
  • Evidence is key, proving that it happened if you file a report is difficult to prove
    • evidence may not be enough so preserve everything you can
  • Go to a hospital or call 911 right after
    • Police will get you to a hospital, will take evidence, and will ask if you want a sexual assault kit done (also known as a rape kit)

Sexual Assault Evidence Kit…

The following information may be sensitive to some or triggering, please be advised and read with caution.

Every exam can go a little differently based on the circumstances of the incident and the victim’s physical and mental health at the time of the exam.  Assuming the victim is physically able to be transported to a women’s center (not having to get immediate medical treatment at a hospital) then they would arrive and meet with the staff, which is usually strictly women.  They will be asked some questions regarding the incident, and the staff is focused on determining if the victim had showered, cleaned up, changed clothing etc. to determine what might be of evidentiary value to collect.  They will generally collect all of the clothing (including outer and under garments) and place them into evidence bags for the officer/CSI to collect.  They will provide the victim with fresh clothing and any personal hygiene products they may need following the examination.

The exam consists of what essentially is a “pelvic exam” similar to an annual well woman exam.  Based on what was determined during the interview, they will swab outer areas and collect samples from inside based on the incident.  They will also swab any other areas of the body that need to be swabbed based on the facts of the case (under fingernails, breasts, anus, mouth, etc.).  All of this evidence is collected along with any clothing or any other evidence and placed into property and evidence at the police department.  They are offered to have someone with them during all this, an advocate or family member if they wish. The staff will usually document the exam from beginning to end with photos if there is any visible injury or evidence.

Legal Process (In Brevard County, Florida)…

Officers provide legal rights and remedies, as well as a carbon copied form that shows shelter numbers, women’s centers, the state attorney’s office, and legal rights. All victims are supposed to be provided with a copy, as well as an email for weekends and holidays, which allow them to contact state attorneys to see a judge. 

In the case of sexual assault/battery, the victim will be referred to SAVS (Sexual Assault Victims Services), and as long as they are in agreeance, they will have a sexual assault kit done.

They may also be contacted by an advocate who will check in, and offer information such as the right numbers to state attorneys, women’s centers for counseling, and help with “victim’s compensation.” The advocate that works with victims can help file for the injunction and also provide moral support by attending the cases in court.

In Brevard County, Florida, the police department offers the option for victims of domestic violence and sexual battery to work with an advocate for injunctions, which is when someone goes to court in regards for protection for the party that is filing a report. Injunction hearings are designated for cases concerning domestic violence in a marriage or when dating, cyberstalking, stalking, and in a repeat (where an offense has occurred more than 1 time).

Victims may be able to work with attorneys pro-bono (free of charge) with a hearing within 15 days if it is granted. The person that the victims are filing against will be served paperwork, but do not need to attend the hearing.

The judge needs to know the reason for the injunction, so the victim has to write a summary of what happened for the judge to read.

The petitioner has the responsibility and burden of proving their case, and if their is equal evidence of harm against both parties, the judge cannot grant the injunction.

If the injunction is granted, they usually last a year, and if it is violated, a motion can be made to extend the injunction. You can also go back in motion to court to have it dissolved.

If the injunction was dissolved, the victim would have to file a new one with new evidence rather than the old in the case of reinstating the injunction.

Judges will place a monitor (ankle bracelet) on the offender, and if they are within 1,000 feet of the home or workplace of the victim, the victim receives a phone call from the monitoring company, and officers will call the victim to check in.

Other states may vary when it comes to the legal process, so it is important to utilize the resources around you and inform yourself on how your city, town, or county handles cases of sexual assault.


It’s important to know that you are never required to report a sexual assault unless you are a minor. Law enforcement does not need to be called and a kit can still be collected for the victim. In this case, you can change your mind if you do not want to continue with prosecution, but the evidence will stay preserved if you have the kit done and may want to go to court in the future.