First Five Days After an Assault

What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?

Decisions about Your Safety

  • Go to a safe place as soon as you can and ask someone you trust to stay with you.
  • Brown students can call the Sexual Assault Response Line (401.863-6000) for immediate medical, counseling or police assistance. If you want to report the crime, notify Brown's Department of Public Safety immediately at 401.863-4111. For some, reporting the crime can help regain a sense of personal power and control. A campus advocate will be available to accompany you.  If you are away from Brown, call 911 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.
  • Try to preserve all evidence of the assault. Avoid drinking, bathing, showering, douching, brushing your teeth, or changing your clothes. Evidence can be collected at an emergency room and you can decide later whether or not you want to press criminal charges.
  • Try to write down, or have a friend write down, everything you can remember about the incident including a physical description of the perpetrator, their identity if you know it, and the use of threats or force.
  • You can have evidence collected (Rape Kit) at a nearby hospital and decide later whether you want to press charges. 
  • Collecting physical evidence must occur within 96 hours (4 days) at a local emergency room. In Rhode Island, women can go to Women & Infants Hospital and men can go to Rhode Island Hospital.

Time Sensitive Medical Decisions

All services, except evidence collection, can be provided for Brown students by Health Services

  • If you are female, you can prevent pregnancy by taking emergency contraception within 120 hours (5 days) of the assault. Emergency contraception is most effective when taken as soon as possible. 
  • HIV prophylaxis treatment needs to be started within 72 hours.
  • If you think you were drugged or consumed a sedative-like substance, ask the medical provider to take a urine sample. Date rape drugs like GHB and Rohypnol are more likely to be detected in urine than in blood. If you still have remnants of the drink, save them for analysis.
  • Screening for date rape drugs can be done up to 72 hours after the incident but is optimally done within 12 hours.  Since many of these drugs clear the system quickly, a negative test result does not necessarily mean that no drug was involved.
  • You can decide what medical care you want or don't want. It's important to discuss STIs, date rape drug screening and pregnancy prevention with a medical provider. 

back to top

What are my options on and off campus?

Important Information and Resources

Get help by calling one of these sexual assault resources:

  • Sexual Assault Response Line, 401.863-6000. This number can connect you with the confidential help of the Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor who can provide you with information as well as accompany you to the hospital if needed.
  • Coordinator of Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy, 401.863-2794. Confidential support. (More information on this resource below.)
  • University Health Services, 401.863-1330.
  • Brown Emergency Medical Services (EMS), 401.863-4111.
  • Department of Public Safety: Information about Reporting a Sexual Assault, 401.863-4111
  • Michelle Nuey, Special Victims Unit, DPS, 401.863.2542. Michelle can provide information and support concerning legal reporting options and assistance with filing a report. You can seek information without filing an official police report. If you do want to file a police report, off campus incidents will need to be reported to law enforcement in the town where the incident occurred. Michelle can assist with facilitating this process. 
  • If the incident occurred off campus, in Providence, you can file a report with Providence Police
    Emergency: 911
    Non-Emergency: 401.272-3121
    Special Victims Unit: 401.243-6236
  • Office of Student Life Student Support Services. OSL provides crisis services 24 hours a day for graduate, medical and undergraduate students who may be dealing with personal or family emergencies. Through a Dean of the Day (business hours, 863-3145) and Administrator-on-Call (evenings and weekends, 863-4111) system, students can receive immediate support and resource information. 
  • Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-494-8100. Off-campus confidential or anonymous support in Rhode Island.  If you are not in Rhode Island, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. 

What if it has been more than five days?

Any Time After an Assault 

  • Consider getting medical care. You can go to Health Services or your own provider. Even if you think that you do not have any physical injuries, it's important to get medical care to discuss STIs and pregnancy prevention.
  • Talk with a counselor who is trained to assist victims of sexual assault. 
  • Try to write down, or have a friend write down, everything you can remember about the incident including a physical description of the perpetrator, their identity if you know it, and the use of threats or force.
  • You have the right to file a complaint on campus (if the person who assaulted you was another Brown student) as well as press charges off campus with the police. A campus advocate can support you through either process. 
  • Contact the Coordinator of Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy, Bita Shooshani, 401.863-2794, bita@brown.edu, 3rd floor of Health Services. Bita is available to help students affected by sexual violence and abuse in a relationship. Confidential services include support for a survivor or the friends of a survivor, help exploring options to address the incident (such as filing a complaint, if that is the student's choice). When you speak to Bita, you do not have to pursue any specific course of action and no action will be taken unless it’s something you choose. 
  • Consider accessing support from any of the following on and off campus resources.

back to top

Disclaimer: Health Education is part of Health Services at Brown University. Health Education maintains this site as a resource for Brown students. This site is not intended to replace consultation with your medical providers. No site can replace real conversation. Health Education offers no endorsement of and assumes no liability for the currency, accuracy, or availability of the information on the sites we link to or the care provided by the resources listed. Health Services staff are available to treat and give medical advice to Brown University students only. If you are not a Brown student, but are in need of medical assistance please call your own health care provider or in case of an emergency, dial 911. Please contact us if you have comments, questions or suggestions.