Call For Help and Support
After experiencing sexual violence, it’s difficult to know what to do, how to feel, or what your options are. You may be physically hurt, confused, emotionally drained, afraid for your safety, or feeling like you're on autopilot. Know that you are not alone and it's not your fault. Healing from sexual violence takes time. Give yourself the time you need. It's never too late to call or seek help.
Have you experienced sexual violence or have questions related to victim-survivor support, referrals, accommodations, and reporting options and need to speak to a VOICE Advocate?
For confidential support contact us at 404.894.9000 24 hours per day.
Appointments are available for individuals affiliated with Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech students can call or meet with a VOICE Advocate for confidential support, information, options, and resources 24/7 by calling 404.894.9000. You may also call the Georgia Tech Center for Mental Health Care and Resources at 404.894.3498, or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline, operated by RAINN, for free and confidential counseling 24 hours a day at 1.800.656.4673.
Consider Getting Medical Care
In the first 5 days after an assault, you can receive a no cost sexual assault forensic exam for evidence collection and medical care to give you time to decide whether you would like to report. No matter how much time has passed, you can receive an exam for your medical needs at Stamps or at an off campus health provider. Whatever you choose, support is available.
A VOICE Advocate is available 24/7 and can explain all of your options, accompany you on and off campus, and arrange transportation. If you are under 18 years of age, speak with a VOICE Advocate about mandated reporters, which are people required by law to report the assault to the state child welfare agency or local law enforcement.
What is a sexual assault forensic exam?
A sexual assault forensic exam is a medical examination to provide medical treatment and to collect evidence up to 120 hours (5 days) after a sexual assault. The exam is completed by a healthcare provider with specialized training called a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). A sexual assault forensic exam, also called a SANE exam, includes medical treatment for injuries and trauma, medications in case you were exposed to any sexually transmitted infections, emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy, if applicable, and evidence collection. The forensic medical exam is free and your insurance company will not be contacted or billed.
Do I have to report to the police?
Survivors are NOT required to report to law enforcement in order to receive a sexual assault forensic exam and/or for evidence to be collected. The Sexual Assault Kit, frequently called a “rape kit,” contains all of the forensic evidence that was collected during the exam. If you choose not to release your kit to the police at the time of the exam, it will be securely stored at the sexual assault center for one year in case you decide to report to the police at a later date.
Where do I go to receive a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam?
There are several metro-Atlanta sexual assault centers that offer sexual assault forensic exams 24/7/365. Although Grady Rape Crisis Center is the closest location, VOICE recommends LiveSafe Resources, which is about 17 miles from campus. The process tends to take less time and be more private compared to a hospital. See Community Resources for a full list of Atlanta-area sexual assault centers that provide these exams.
You or a VOICE Advocate need to call ahead to LiveSafe Resources at 770.427.3390, and the SANE nurse can usually meet you at their location in 30 minutes.To find a local SANE program outside of Atlanta, call the RAINN hotline 1.800.656.HOPE (4673).
How should I prepare for a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam?
You can receive a sexual assault forensic exam up to 120 hours (5 days) after an assault, but the sooner you receive the exam, the more likely that evidence will be recovered. If you are able, try to avoid activities that could potentially damage evidence such as, bathing, showering, using the restroom, changing clothes, combing hair, or cleaning up the area. Even if you have already taken any of these actions, you are still eligible for evaluation, treatment and evidence collection, and evidence may still be recoverable. If you change your clothes before the exam, place them in a paper bag to safely preserve evidence. You may also want to bring a change of clothes with you, but VOICE Advocates also have clothing and emergency items available for you.
What happens during a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam?
The sexual assault forensic exam is completely voluntary. You have the right to stop, pause, or refuse any part of the exam that you are uncomfortable with. In general, the steps of the sexual assault forensic exam are described below:
- Immediate Care- for any injuries that need immediate attention.
- History- collecting your medical history as well as information about what happened that will guide the nurse’s evidence collection during the exam.
- Physical Exam, Evidence Collection, and Photography – based on your specific experience, this may include a full body examination, including internal examinations of the mouth, vagina, and/or anus. It may also include taking samples of blood, urine, swabs of body surface areas, and sometimes hair samples. The SANE performing the exam may take pictures of your body to document injuries and the examination. With your permission, they may also collect items of clothing, including undergarments.
- Follow Up Care- may include preventative treatment for STIs, emergency contraception if applicable, and referrals for recommended follow up medical care and mental health services.
What if I suspect I may have been sexually assaulted but do not remember the incident?
A Sexual Assault Forensic Exam includes tests for drugs someone may have given you without your knowledge (date rape drugs). It is important to get the exam as soon as possible as drugs leave the body quickly. They will not send your sample to be tested unless you decide to report the incident to police. If you choose not to report at that time, you can also seek testing at an urgent care center or lab. See Medical Resources for urgent care and testing sites near campus, including one option that is open 24/7.
What are my options if I do not want an evidence collection exam or if my assault occurred more than 5 days ago?
Even if an assault occurred some time ago, medical care can be an important step in seeking support and ensuring your medical needs are addressed. If you are not interested in evidence collection or if you seek medical care after 120 hours, you can make an appointment with Stamps Health Services for a medical exam and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy, if applicable to you. There are also off campus options for medical care, including Planned Parenthood and the Empowerment Resource Center.
How can I get the "morning after pill"?
Emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy, also known as the "morning after pill" is most effective within 72 hours but can be effective up to 120 hours. You can obtain emergency contraception from a pharmacy without a prescription, including Stamps Pharmacy for $25, Publix Pharmacy, CVS etc. Sexual assault forensic exams include providing medications and prescriptions for emergency contraception and preventative treatment for STIs.
Consider Your Reporting Options
Justice and healing can mean different things to different people. Some victim-survivors have found that reporting has been an important step towards healing. Every person’s situation is different, and the decision to report is completely up to you.
Reporting processes can be complicated and overwhelming. VOICE Advocates in the Wellness Empowerment Center can provide you with confidential support and information to understand your options and make the choice that is best for you. VOICE can also support you throughout the process if you choose to report.
If you want to report the assault, you have several options. You can choose any of these as soon as you are ready. The following departments can help you file reports:
- VOICE Advocates (404.894.9000) can provide information about reporting options on and off campus. You can receive support and accommodations regardless of whether you choose to file a report. VOICE Advocates can speak with students confidentially about their experience and can also assist students with filing an anonymous report.
- GT Police Department (404.894.2500) or the Atlanta Police Department (911) can help with filing a criminal report and investigation. VOICE Advocates can accompany you to file a report and any other legal proceedings.
- The Title IX Coordinator (404.385.5583) can help you to file a report or a formal complaint for a violation of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. Submit a report online. VOICE Advocates can explain your options and accompany you throughout the process.
Consider Speaking to a Therapist
Healing and recovery after an experience of sexual violence is a process, and it looks different for everyone, but healing is possible. There is no timeline for recovery and the journey of healing has its ups and downs. Speaking with a trained therapist might help you to understand how this experience has impacted you and how to start your journey to recovery.
Georgia Tech students can call the Center for Mental Health Care & Resources for access to on and off-campus referrals for therapists. They also offer Journey In Healing, a support group for undergraduate and graduate studetns who are woman-identified who are survivors of sexual assault or relationship violence during thier teen or adult years. Use the below link for VOICE's comprehensive list of resources for victim-survivors on and off campus.