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voices against violence

Immediate Medical Options

If you have recently experienced sexual assault, your personal well-being and safety come first. How you are feeling is unique to you; there isn't a right or wrong way to feel. However you are reacting, you deserve support and have options.

Even if you do not notice obvious injuries to your body, it is highly recommended that you seek medical care as soon as possible after a sexual assault. You may have internal injuries or be in shock, which might prevent you from fully realizing the extent of any injuries. Immediate medical attention will also provide you with more options to prevent the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STI's) and pregnancy.

A survivor can access a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) with or without police involvement. The exam can only occur within the first 120 hours (five days) after a sexual assault with police involvement and 96 hours (four days) without police involvement. The non-report option preserves the evidence for two years, during which time a survivor can make the decision about whether or not to pursue criminal charges.

UT students who have experienced a sexual assault may choose to access a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) at University Health Services (UHS) at no charge. These exams are offered through a partnership with SafePlace who will complete the exam in the UHS facility during UHS business hours, Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:30pm and Saturday 11:00am-3:00pm (during long semesters).

To access this service, call the SafePlace Hotline at 512-267-SAFE (7233). The hotline staff will arrange for you to have a private exam by a specially-qualified nurse to take place at University Health Services, located in the Student Services Building.

The UHS Nurse Advice Line, 512. 475.6877 (NURS), is available to students 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You should call this line with any questions about your medical care.

If you need help paying for testing or other medical expenses related to your assault, you can seek assistance through Crime Victim's Compensation or Voices Against Violence Survivor's Emergency Fund.

Keeping Options Open: Sexual Assault Forensic Exams (SAFE)

You have the right to receive the medical treatment you need. One option is a Sexual Assault Exam (previously referred to as a “rape kit” to collect evidence. The exam can only occur within the first 120 hours (five days) after a sexual assault with police involvement and 96 hours (four days) without police involvement. You have the right to bring a friend, family member, or sexual assault advocate with you to support you during this time. . The non-report option preserves the evidence for two years, during which time you can make the decision about whether or not to pursue criminal charges. For more information about the non-report option, please see this pamphlet from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault about Sexual Assault Examinations Without Police Involvement.

Before the Exam
In order to preserve as much evidence as possible, it is recommended that you do not clean up, bathe, shower, brush your teeth, or comb your hair before the exam. However, it is important to know that you can still have the exam even if you have done any or all of these things. If you decide to change your clothes, place the clothes that you were wearing at the time of the assault in a paper bag.

Before the exam begins, you will be asked to sign a consent form allowing medical evidence to be collected and turned over to law enforcement. Once the exam begins, a doctor or nurse specifically trained for sexual assault examinations will explain each step of the exam with you. Although it may be difficult to discuss, they will ask you about the assault to determine how to best care for you. If you are female, they will also ask you about your menstrual cycle and current use of contraception. You have the right to decline any of these questions, take breaks or ask questions about the purpose of each part of the exam.

It is your right to stop the exam at any point or to refuse certain parts of the exam.

During the Exam
Medical personnel will listen to your breathing, press on your abdomen, and examine your torso for general signs of injury. They will then collect evidence, which typically includes wiping a swab over the areas that may have come in contact with your perpetrator, combing for hair samples, and collecting fingernail scrapings and debris. If you are female, the doctor or nurse will perform a pelvic exam. For more information on what to expect from a pelvic exams, please see: www.healthyhorns.utexas.edu/hs_annualexam.html

The nurse will also give you information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy. Although it is too early to detect STIs from a recent assault, it may be recommended to test for some infections to establish a baseline and medication will be offered may help prevent infection. For more information about other options for STI testing, please see below.

If you know you would like to report to the police, The University of Texas Police Department (UTPD) can provide transportation 512.471.4441. For more information on reporting to law enforcement or to the University, please see Reporting Options.

What if I think that I might be pregnant?

You can purchase emergency contraception from any pharmacy, including the on-campus 40 Acres Pharmacy (1st Floor of the Student Services Building), Monday through Friday, from 9:00am - 5:00pm. Emergency Contraception can be taken up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex, and is more effective when taken sooner.

University Health Services (UHS) Women's Health offers pregnancy testing. You can also call the UHS Nurse Advice line 24 hours a day to discuss options for an at-home pregnancy test at 512.475.NURS (6877). If you know you are pregnant, you can seek assistance from UHS Women's Health Clinic or your healthcare provider to learn about what options are available to you.

What if I am worried about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)?

If you are at all worried that you may have been exposed to an STI, it is recommended that you seek testing. Options for testing are listed below. For more information about STIs, please see: http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/std-sti.html

If you have a Sexual Assault Exam, you will be offered the opportunity to be tested for STIs.

You can seek free and confidential testing from Austin Travis County Health and Human Services Department. For more information and locations, please visit: www.healthyhorns.utexas.edu/hs_hivtestingoffcampus.html

You can also seek testing from University Health Services or your healthcare provider.

If you need help paying for testing or other medical expenses related to your assault, you can seek assistance through Crime Victim's Compensation or Voices Against Violence Survivor's Emergency Fund.

Sexual Violence Issues

UT Austin Title IX Resource Guide
Sexual Violence Defined
Safety Planning
Common Reactions
Taking Care of Yourself
Reporting Options
Concerns Related to Identity
Male Survivors of Sexual Assault


If you or someone you know would like more information on advocacy options or other services available to students dealing with sexual violence, please call the Counseling and Mental Health Center at 512-471-3515. When you call, ask for an appointment with a counselor who works with the CMHC Voices Against Violence (VAV) Program.
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