One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

The Image I Reflect: What to Do if You've Been Assaulted

The Image I Reflect: What to Do if You've Been Assaulted

hand mirror.April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Throughout the month, Cedarville University’s Title IX office would like to challenge the campus community to examine the ways in which we are sometimes less than loving as we focus on this theme:

“The Image I Reflect: Conversations About Respect, Consent, Power, and Healing”

This theme is meant to challenge us to look in the mirror and consider our beliefs and behaviors, to reflect on the ways that we are tempted to act toward another that could diminish their sexual dignity or objectify them.

Our focus this week is: What to Do if You've Been Assaulted.

Today’s blog post was written by Sari Bright, APRN, Nurse Practitioner, University Medical Services.

If you have been a victim of a sexual assault, it is important to consider the following steps:

Assess Your Safety

  • Did you experience any head or abdominal injuries that could be life threatening? Do you feel dizzy, nauseated, having severe pain in your abdomen, head, or neck? These could indicate a life-threatening problem. It is important to call 911 and seek immediate medical attention.
  • Are you afraid that you could experience harm from another individual? If you believe you could be in immediate danger, call 911 and report your concerns.
  • Are you a bystander and concerned that a friend or stranger may have been assaulted? Call 911.

Secure Evidence

  • Even if you are not sure that you want to press charges or pursue legal action, there is a window of time where evidence can be collected (96 hours in Ohio). If you are considering it, or are unsure, it is beneficial to have evidence collected and then decide later if you want to pursue charges. It is always best to collect the evidence as soon as possible.
  • All our local emergency rooms can collect evidence; a specially trained provider will come to the ER to walk you through the process. They will work with you to make decisions on what exams will be done and what evidence should be collected. You get to make the decisions on what you do and do not want to do. To avoid disrupting evidence, do not shower, change clothes, or eat or drink before the exam. Wear or bring the clothes worn at the time of the assault and bring a change of clothes with you.
  • Sometimes questions that you will be asked may feel like you are being accused of wrongdoing. It is important that health care providers and law enforcement ask certain questions to best obtain evidence and help determine the best plan of care for you. Try to be honest and clear with your answers. The information collected is private and confidential and aims at ensuring you receive the best possible care.
  • You can bring a support person to the hospital with you if you choose. They may be asked to wait outside during most of the exam. If you do not have someone you want to come with you, you can request an advocate through the Victims/ Witness Division of Greene County (937-562-5087).
  • When you go to the hospital for a forensic medical examination, the costs associated with the evidence collection are covered by the Ohio Attorney General’s SAFE program. There may be some services or treatment received that are not covered by this program. These may qualify for coverage through the Ohio Crime Victims Compensation Program.

Seek Alternative Care

  • If you are concerned about your health but do not want to have a Medical Forensic Exam, there are several local options for health evaluation and treatment needs, including University Medical Services on campus. We are here to discuss your concerns, provide treatment and evaluation for sexually transmitted infections, and provide services for follow up monitoring. We are also available to help you explore all your options and are a confidential health care facility available to give you control over your treatment and recovery.

These are just a few things to consider initially after a sexual assault. There are many more considerations and each situation is unique. It is important to reach out to the resources available to you — like our Title IX office on campus, Counseling Services, Campus Security, or UMS to help you navigate your individual situation.


Ohio Department of Health


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sari Bright, APRN, Nurse Practitioner, University Medical Services, her nursing education here at Cedarville. Since then, she has worked as an RN in several areas, including ER, labor and delivery, and mental health. She has been a nurse practitioner for seven years and worked in primary care and urgent care settings. Sari has also had specialized training through the SANE Campus Network through Duquesne University to assist victims of sexual assault and increase campus response and resources.


Posted in Title IX

Share This Post

Related Posts