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Women's Center

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM ABUSE

It is NEVER the fault of a victim in dating or sexual abuse. However, there are some things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Realize that anyone can be a victim female or male, any age, any ethnicity, from a stranger, hanging out with a friend, on a date, or in a committed relationship.
  • Trust your gut; if something feels uncomfortable or wrong, follow your instincts and leave or change the situation.
  • If you drink, do so responsibly since alcohol is often involved in assault situations.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ASSAULTED

  • Recognize that it is not your fault
  • Get to a safe place immediately
  • Attempt to preserve all physical evidence (For More Information)
  • Receive medical attention as soon as possible
  • Seek counseling and emotional assistance
  • Report the assault to one of the campus support services (See Additional Resources)

HOW TO HELP A FRIEND AFTER AN ASSAULT

  • Let your friend know that she/he is not to blame
  • Be supportive
  • Believe him/her
  • Encourage reporting the assault
  • Encourage seeing a doctor
  • Encourage contacting an advocate
  • Offer a safe place to stay
  • Listen, but do not judge
  • Be patient and understanding
  • Let her/him make their own decisions
  • Respect confidentiality, when possible

ATTEMPT TO PRESERVE ALL PHYSICAL EVIDENCE

  • After the first 24 hours the quality of the evidence usually decreases, but evidence can be collected up to 72 hours after the assault.
  • Do not wash or douche.
  • Try not to urinate.
  • If oral contact took place, do not eat, drink liquids, smoke, or brush teeth.
  • Do not comb or brush hair.
  • If changing clothes is necessary, clothing worn during the assault should be placed in a paper bag.
  • This evidence is retained for at least one year by the local police after the assault takes place, so even if you do not want to prosecute at the time of the assault, you have the option of changing your mind. The length of time of retention varies from one locale to another, so you should check with the local police.

HELP IS AVAILABLE

URI Violence Against Women Prevention Programs:
874-9131
874-5222

Confidential Peer Advocacy Info Line:
874-9293
E-mail: Peerinfo@etal.uri.edu