Coping with an experience of sexual assault can present many challenges. You don’t have to handle this alone. No matter what time it is, or how long ago this happened, call SHARE or someone you trust—a friend, a loved one, a family member. Talking can help. It can also lead to various forms of action, as you decide how you want to respond.
SHARE can help you through this process.
On this page you will find information about:
- What to do in a crisis situation
- Medical care
- Accommodations and other supportive measures
Call SHARE any time of day or night via our 24/7 hotline at 203-432-2000. Our counselors can provide expert, confidential support and information. You can also remain anonymous if you wish. We can offer a supportive ear, or help you think through your various options for response. If you prefer, call someone else—but do seek support. You shouldn’t have to go through this alone.
We recommend that you get medical attention, even if you think you are physically okay. Depending on who you are and what happened to you, appropriate treatment could include a pelvic exam, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing, and/or prophylactic treatment for HIV and other STIs.
If the assault happened within the last 5 days/120 hours, you may also want to consider forensic evidence collection, even if you don’t want to press criminal charges. It is best to be examined as soon as possible after an event. Some substances leave the system within 6 or 12 hours, so if there is concern that drugs or alcohol have been used to assist an assault, this may be a consideration. To preserve the evidence of an assault, try to resist the urge to cleanse yourself. Do not wash, douche, change clothes, eat, drink, smoke, brush your teeth or your hair, or go to the bathroom. Collecting evidence (or talking to the police) does not mean that you have to press charges—it is just a way to keep your options open. The state of Connecticut will cover the cost of evidence collection.
Medical care + evidence collection: For legal reasons, we cannot collect evidence at Yale Health. You will need to go to Yale-New Haven Hospital and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (a SANE nurse), who will work with you to collect detailed evidence of what happened. Someone from SHARE can call ahead, go with you, and/or arrange for your transportation there. You can also call the Yale Police directly 203-432-4400, or the special services minivan at 203-432-2788. Bring a change of clothing with you to the hospital since your clothes may be needed for evidence. Both hospital campuses, on York Street and on Chapel Street, are available for evidence collection.
Medical care alone can be provided at Yale Health’s Acute Care Department. SHARE counselors are also available to call ahead and/or accompany you there.
If you are thinking about reporting the sexual assault, there are a variety of options, both internal and external, for members of the Yale community. Our website as well as the Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention at Yale site has information about these options. Call us if you have questions or would like us to assist you through any of these processes. For resources beyond Yale, contact: Sexual Assault Crisis Services 888-999-5545.
We encourage you to reach out to us or to someone you trust. Many survivors of sexual assault experience troubling emotions – sometimes these emotions occur immediately after the assault and sometimes they occur later. Survivors often experience shock, anger, helplessness, self-blame, shame, problems with eating or sleeping, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, irritability, denial and/or fear. Many survivors find some relief in talking to empathetic friends, mentors, and counselors. SHARE is always an option. We are here for you, day or night, 365 days a year.
Later – weeks, months, years
The impact of sexual assault can unfold in stages over time. People who feel they are “over it” will sometimes find that strong feelings and memories come back. Sometimes, those are triggered by reading or seeing something about sexual violence, by anniversaries of the event, by other experiences (even positive ones). Other times, it’s not clear why these memories and feelings are coming up again. All of these experiences are normal, and generally an important stage of healing—it may not feel like progress, but it probably is! Healing from an assault is a long-term process.
As in the immediate aftermath, we encourage you to call SHARE (203-432-2000, any time) and to reach out to other trusted sources of support. You might be resuming conversations you’ve already started, or telling people for the first time. Both routes are common; indeed, some people call us after years of never speaking to anyone about what happened.
You may still have options available in terms of reporting the sexual assault if you have decided to consider taking action. SHARE can help you to find out more and support you through the process of reporting.
If you didn’t get medical attention at the time, you might consider doing so now, even in the form of a routine checkup. If you have trouble getting an appointment, SHARE can help by reaching out to your provider. A SHARE counselor can also accompany you for support.
SHARE can provide immediate crisis counseling on our hotline, as well as ongoing counseling by appointment. You can read more about what we offer on our Services page.
Talking about an experience of sexual assault is one of the most effective ways of processing your feelings and gaining understanding about your own and others’ responses and reactions. Putting all this into words with another person can be a step towards healing. When strong emotions, self-doubts, and critical thoughts are kept inside, survivors tend to get stuck. By bringing this into conversation, many survivors begin to place responsibility where it belongs, with the person(s) who harmed them.
Counseling for sexual assault can also very pragmatic. We work on strategies for self-care, including finding ways to access support within your day-to-day life. We spend time figuring out how and whether to tell loved ones about what happened. If you have decided to go ahead with a disciplinary or criminal case, we address the emotions arising from that process. Counseling can give you the space and support to find ways to cope.
It is recommended that you seek post-assault medical care at Acute Care or with one of your regular health care providers, even if you think you are physically okay. Due to legal requirements Acute Care cannot collect evidence or conduct toxicology testing. Both of these options are available at the Yale-New Haven Hospital. SHARE can arrange a ride to bring you to any of these locations, and meet you there. You can also call the special services minivan at 203-432-2788. (See Crisis Situations section above for more details about these options.)
Sometimes, an experience of sexual assault is compounded by the challenges of day-to-day life. It can be particularly difficult if you continue to see the person who hurt you—in a dining hall, in a class, in your workplace, or just around campus. As an institution, Yale works to alleviate such ongoing distress. The Title IX Coordinators can work with you to address these kinds of situations.
Accommodations are shaped by your needs, and might include actions such as:
- Switching either you or the other person out of a shared class—into a new section, or sometimes a new class altogether
- Temporarily or permanently changing room assignments
- Issuing a “no contact order” in which people are forbidden from interacting
- Having work re-graded in a course where there is a report of instructor sexual harassment
- Allowing a student to withdraw from a course without penalty
Some accommodations and supportive measures can be implemented without the other person’s knowledge or involvement at all, if that is what you wish.
SHARE can help you to get in touch with a Title IX Coordinator and/or be a part of your conversation with their office regarding any of these needs.
If you call SHARE or come in to Acute Care or the Yale-New Haven Hospital Emergency Department, that contact will be kept confidential in all but the most extreme of circumstances (when you or someone else is at risk of imminent harm). These providers will not reveal to anyone that you spoke to us or came in for treatment.
Conversations that take place outside of medical and therapeutic relationships—with a dean or freshman counselor, for example—will be kept mostly confidential, but any information about an incident of sexual misconduct will need to be shared with one of the Title IX Coordinators. These are the University officials charged with maintaining an environment free of sexual misconduct. One of the coordinators (usually, the one assigned to your school) will offer to meet with you to make sure your needs are being met. (See Accommodations & Other Supportive Measures above.)
Please review the chart below for more information about how different resources will respond if you contact them for assistance.