Skip to main content

Wellness Center

Immediate Support

Help After an Assault

It does not matter what you were wearing, where you were walking, whether you've been drinking, or that you previously consented to sexual activity. Sexual violence is never the survivor's fault.

After a sexual assault, it is important to remember that you have choices about how to take care of yourself. There is no ONE right way to ensure your self-care. However, listed below are several options, offering you suggestions on how to meet your physical safety and emotional needs, how to obtain medical attention, and options for pursuing legal action. 

What to do if you have been sexually assaulted:

  • Find a place where you feel safe.
  • Contact someone you trust, such as a friend, family member, or AU staff member. Be aware some staff members, such as resident assistants (RAs), may be required to report information you disclose.
  • If you may want to pursue a criminal case in the future, it is best to have evidence collected at the DC SANE program at Washington Hospital Center where you can receive free, confidential treatment for any needs related to the assault. They can be reached at (800) 641-4028. See additional information about the SANE exam process below.
  • To preserve evidence, it is best not to shower, bathe, douche, wash your hands, brush your teeth, comb your hair, or use a toilet (if you can avoid it). 
  • Seek medical attention even if you are not seeking evidence collection. It is important to be tested for sexually transmitted infections and to treat possible internal injury. 
  • Contact AU's Office of Advocacy Services for Interpersonal and Sexual Violence (OASIS). Advocacy services are free, confidential, and do not result in any official report, unless requested:
  • Consider talking with a counselor. A counselor can help you cope with the emotional difficulties that often arise after an assault. Contact information for the AU Counseling Center is listed below.

Off-Campus Resources Available 24/7

Washington Hospital Center--SANE Program

Contact the DC Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Call Center at (800) 641-4028, located at 110 Irving Street, NW Washington, DC 20010.

The SANE program provides free medical examinations to collect/preserve evidence and the exams are conducted by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). As part of this service, the SANE Program provides free STDs/HIV testing and prophylactic treatment for STDs/HIV and pregnancy.

The operator can provide students with a free safe ride to the Washington Hospital Center's DC SANE Program and dispatch an advocate for support. SANE resources can all be used without police involvement, unless requested.

The program is staffed 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week by nurses with specialized training in medical forensic evidence collection. Exams are available to survivors within 96 hours of an incident. Any evidence collected can be held for one year while a survivor decides if they want to file any charges. Under the Violence Against Women's Act, victims/survivors of sexual assault treated at the SANE center are not required to speak with law enforcement and therefore law enforcement will only be involved if requested.

RAINN Online Hotline

RAINN provides 24/7 phone services at 1.800.656.HOPE. You can also chat anonymously online at RAINN's services include: crisis intervention and support, referrals to resources in your area, answers to your questions about recovering from sexual assault, information about medical issues, explanations of the criminal justice system, what to expect if you report the crime to the police, and information for family and friends of survivors. Anyone can contact the phone or online hotline, even if the violence/abuse occurred long ago.

DC Rape Crisis Center (202) 333-7273.

DCRCC runs a 24/7 crisis hotline. Additionally, DCRCC also provides counseling services for survivors. All services are provided free of charge.

Metropolitan Police Sexual Assault Unit: (202) 727-3700

This direct line will connect you with the unit that investigates sexual violence in the District of Columbia. If you would like help contacting or reporting to the MPD, AU's Public Safety officers are available to assist in this process. The contact information for Public Safety is provided below.

On-Campus Resources Available 24/7    

AU Public Safety

Emergencies: (202) 885-3636
Non-emergencies: (202)885-2527

Public safety responds to immediate threats to health and safety. Public Safety can also provide walking escorts on campus property, Rape Aggression Defense classes that teach women how to defend themselves against attackers, and can assist a victim/survivor in filing a case with Student Conduct and/or Metropolitan Police.

AU Counseling Center (202)885-3500

The Counseling Center is a free, on-campus, confidential resource located at MGC 214. After hours, a Counseling Center counselor can be paged for an emergency consultation by contacting AU Public Safety or a member of the Housing and Dining Programs staff.

For general information about sexual violence, including a list of common reactions to trauma, go here.