If you have just been sexually assaulted, get to a safe place.
Contact someone who can help you: a friend, the police, 911, or Victim Services of Big Spring.
Do not shower, drink or eat, douche, or change your clothes. These activities destroy important physical evidence in the event that you decide to prosecute the assailant.
Get medical attention. You may have hidden injuries and may want to explore options for preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
Write down everything that you remember happening, with as much detail as possible. This can help with your own healing process and in any legal action you might decide to take.
Why you need medical attention?
- To check for any injuries. (victim is in the state of shock and may not be totally aware of any injuries.
- To be tested for any sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
- To collect medical evidence through a SANE exam for future prosecution, if the suspect is caught. (that why it so important not to bath or drink anything before the exam is done).
- To take the first steps in regaining control of your life.
What happen after I report to law enforcement?
- Law enforcement open a case for investigation.
- Evidence of crime is then passed to District Attorney for review.
- District Attorney finds evidence is sufficient, charges filed, suspect is arrested.
- Case is taken to the Grand Jury to be indicted.
- A Pretrial is done of perpetrator.
- Trial is set or a plea is done.
What are your legal rights?
- Texas law gives you the fight to receive an examination for medical treatment, even if you decide you do not want to report to the police.
- You have a right to have a advocate present during your exam.
- You have the right to law enforcement agencies protection from threats and harm when cooperating with the prosecution.
- You have the right to be informed on any relevant court proceedings.
- You have the right to be notified of there is a plea bargain agreement, before the agreement is accepted by the Courts.
- You have the right to be informed if the defendant make bail.
- You have the right to apply for Crime Victims Compensation, through the Texas Attorney General office.
- You have the right to be informed of parole procedure so that you may receive information on parole proceedings, and participate in parole process.
- You have the right to be informed on status of the evidence collected during the SANE exam.
- You have a right to get your property that is held in evidence when it is no longer needed.
- You have the right not to be penalized by your employer for complying with a subpoena.
Can You File a Civil Suit?
If you are unhappy with the criminal proceedings, you may want to file a civil suite against the assailant for damages. You will have to retain your own attorney. Also if you were assaulted in a parking lot or structure you may be able to sue the owner(s) for negligence, talk to your attorney.
TAKING CARE OF YOU
The experience of sexual assault is different for everyone. No one knows exactly how anyone person is going to react after they have been assaulted. But we can tell you that all the feelings you are feel are normal. (shock, numb, disbelief, embarrassed, shame, guilt, depression, disoriented, denial, fear, anxiety and anger,). Resorting your feelings and taking control of your life, is important. You can do this by counseling, talking to your minister, friend and victim services. Professional help can help you deal with the deep emotional and sense of violation.