If you have been sexually assaulted
If you have been hurt by an acquaintance, partner, family member or stranger, it was not your fault. Below you will find information about sexual assault and services available for students.
Get to a safe location and tell a person who will support you and/or contact Prevention, Advocacy, and Wellness Services (PAWS) of the Counseling Center.
PAWS provides advocacy and referrals for Fredonia students that are survivors of sexual assault and other forms of interpersonal violence. We can answer questions, offer emotional support, and provide referrals. You can make an appointment with the PAWS office by visiting our office in LoGrasso Hall, calling us at (716) 673-3424, or emailing the PAWS coordinator at Julie.Bezek@fredonia.edu. The PAWS office is open M-F, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm.
For after hours assistance contact The Anew Center of Jamestown (The Salvation Army). The Anew Center provides a 24/7 helpline for survivors of sexual assault and relationship violence (1-800-252-8748). The helpline can answer questions, provide referrals or send a victim advocate to meet with you.
All of these services are free and confidential. We highly encourage survivors to contact an advocate.
Have your medical needs attended to at a clinic or in the emergency room.
Taking care of your physical and medical state can play an important role in healing. You may have internal and/or external injuries as a result of the assault requiring medical care. Additionally, you may want to explore options for preventing sexually transmitted infections/disease (STI/STD) and/or pregnancy.
Emergency contraception (EC) is available at the Health Center for $10.00. Area pharmacies, such as Rite Aid and Walmart have EC for $40-$50. While it is ‘over the counter’ and does not require an Rx, you will have to ask the pharmacist and show identification to obtain EC.
There is no 'right' place to go for medical attention after an assault. Seek the services that best match your needs and comfort level - your own health care practitioner, a staff members at the Health Center, or Brooks Memorial Hospital.
Brooks Memorial Hospital can provide medial treatment to survivors of sexual assault. They can offer treatment for injuries, STD testing and treatment, the morning after pill, and basic evidence collection (also known as 'rape kits'). Advocates from The Anew Center can be contacted to provide advocacy services. Survivors who have a sexual assault kit completed do not have to file a police report or press criminal charges.
529 Central Avenue - Dunkirk
Things to know about the SANE exam:
- You will be asked questions about your general health and specific questions about the assault. It may be difficult to recall some of the details, and it may be emotionally painful to talk about what happened. Medical providers ask specific questions to find out what to look for when they examine you. The information you give helps them conduct a thorough physical evaluation.
- During the exam you can expect to be examined for internal or external injuries, foreign hair samples, and semen/other bodily fluids. You may be given antibiotics to prevent infection.
- Depending on the types of sexual contact that occurred, the search for physical evidence may include taking samples from the mouth, vagina, and/or rectum to test for sperm cells and semen. Other evidence may be obtained from fingernail scrapings, foreign matter on your body, and the clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault.
- If you have visible injuries, you may be asked to have photographs taken. Photographing injuries is important because by the time your assailant is prosecuted, the injuries may have healed.
- Going to the hospital does not mean that you have to make a report to the police. That is your choice.
- Save the clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault in a paper bag.
- Save sheets, blankets, or anything else that may have evidence in a paper bag. Do not throw anything away or try to clean up.
- Such an exam can be performed up to 72 hours after an assault, but it is most successful within the first 24 hours.
- If possible, bring an extra set of clothes (the police may want the clothes worn during the assault for evidence) and a friend or another supportive person.
- Do not shower, drink, eat, or change your clothes prior to an exam. These activities destroy important physical evidence that is useful should you decide to make a police report. Also, document everything you remember happening with as much detail as possible.
Health Center staff is specially trained to identify and respond to the medical needs of sexual assault survivors. The Health Center can provide treatment for injuries, testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, emergency contraception, and referrals to outside providers for additional services.
Options for reporting the incident are available here.
If you are not sure how to think about what happened...
Sex should feel good, mutual, intimate. When it doesn't, people sometimes don't know how to define it. When the experience falls on the coercion/abuse side of the continuum people are reluctant to call it rape or sexual violence unless it happened on a dark street with a stranger. If you feel bad, taken advantage of or abused, you should take these feelings seriously even if you don't know what label to put on the experience.
Confusion is a common response to an unexpected event. You did not intend or expect the situation to end with you feeling uncomfortable, bad or taken advantage of. It may take some time to process the unexpected, and possibly violent, turn of events. Accept your confusion as natural and pay attention to your other feelings and responses.
Many people minimize the significance of an event and minimize the strength of their emotional response when something bad happens to them. In a way this can be an adaptive strategy, but it also can make it more difficult to deal with what happened. Be careful not to dismiss your feelings of discomfort too quickly.
You may also be concerned that your decisions and actions contributed to the bad outcome and worry that it's your fault. You are right in taking responsibility for your own decisions and actions, but you are not responsible for the actions of the other person, nor are you in any way "deserving" of what happened to you.
If in your gut you feel that something "bad" or "wrong" happened and that you feel uncomfortable, hurt, angry, etc. then you need to take this gut awareness seriously. It is a fallacy that people over report sexual assault. In fact it is one of the most under reported crimes.
The Counseling Center's PAWS program can assist students who want to process their thoughts and feelings so they can fully deal with what happened. We can answer questions, be someone to talk to, offer emotional support, and provide referrals. All services are free and confidential.