Sexual Assault Program
Sexual Assault Advocates:
Family Services employs trained sexual assault advocates who will:
- provide crisis intervention,
- help you create a safety plan,
- find emergency shelter,
- help you access counseling,
- arrange for a SANE exam and provide hospital accompaniment
- provide you with referrals to other resources in the community.
- connect you with a legal advocate if you need help with legal matters
- provide accompaniment to meetings with law enforcement and court hearings
- assist you in filing paperwork for Crime Victim’s Compensation
Sexual Assault Advocates are available to accompany survivors to the hospital for their SANE examination and to provide a care package with clothing to wear home from the hospital. The clothing of the victim will be kept for forensic examination and trial. The sexual assault advocate will also be able to explain healthcare options such as testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy prevention, and the survivor’s legal rights.
How to Protect Yourself Against Sexual Assault
These tips can help reduce your chances of being sexually assaulted:
- If you think you are being followed, go to a lighted area where there are other people. Call the police.
- Never hitchhike or accept a car ride from a stranger.
- If you are going anywhere at night, go with a friend or group.
- Plan your outings. Always tell a friend or family member where you are planning to go and when you will return.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. If the area looks deserted or poorly lit, don’t risk it.
- Walk confidently and with a steady pace. Don’t stop to talk to strangers.
- Walk on the sidewalks when possible. Stay close to the curb, avoiding doorways, bushes, or other spots where an assailant could hide.
- Walk facing traffic. A person walking with the traffic is easier to follow and to force into a car than a person walking against the traffic.
- If possible, carry a cell phone at all times.
- After dark, park as close as you can to the building you are going to. Have your keys in hand when you return to your car.
- Don’t go for walks or jog alone early in the morning or after dark or in remote places. Try to plan your activity during daylight hours when others are around.
- Headphones and earbuds can be dangerous when you are alone because they make you less aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid carrying large quantities of money. Try not to show how much money is in your wallet when purchasing items.
- Go to ATM machines during daylight hours and be aware of who is behind you.
- If you are attacked, yell, scream, shout or do anything to attract attention.
- Do everything possible to keep an assailant from getting in your car, or forcing you into their car.
- Do not leave a bar, club, or party with someone you do not know.
- Only drink from unopened drinks, or drinks that you have watched being made.
- Be aware of how much you are consuming, whether alcohol or drugs.
- If you feel overly intoxicated for the amount you have consumed, get someone to take you home
- Never leave your drink unattended at a bar, club, party, or restaurant.
- Never be the only girl or gay person at a party of men you do not know well.
- If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, LEAVE. Do not be bullied into staying.
- If you are abducted, drop a personal item that can be traced to you.
- Self-defense classes can improve your confident in your ability to avoid physical conflict and defend yourself if necessary.
What to Do If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted
- DO NOT BATHE, DOUCHE, SHOWER, OR CLEAN GENITALS.
- Call someone you trust, a friend, parent, he police, or a sexual assault advocate
- Do not clean up the bedding, couch, car or anything that may have DNA materials on it
- GO TO THE HOSPITAL and tell them you need a SANE examination. This is a specially trained nurse who knows how to collect forensic data to prove the assault. Wear or bring the clothes you were assaulted in with you. Do this, even if you think you do not want to report the assault. DNA evidence must be collected within 72 hours of assault
- If you think you were drugged before the assault, ASK FOR A BLOOD TEST FOR DRUGS. This will prove what drugs were in your system. Even if you have ingested drugs on your own, but believe someone may have slipped you something else, GET THE BLOOD TEST. You will not be in trouble for the other drugs you willingly ingested.
- If you are not on birth control, as the nurse about your options to prevent pregnancy. You can have a procedure called a D&C or take the Plan B pill
- If you want to press charges, call the police and make a report. You do not have to do this right away if you want to think about it. Get through the immediate trauma of the situation and get health care right away.
- You will need counseling. Counseling is FREE and CONFIDENTIAL through Sexual Assault Advocacy Programs like Family Services of Southeast Texas 409-832-7575.
- Sexual Advocacy Programs will help you get the resources you need. They will accompany you to the hospital, the police station, or to the courtroom if needed.
- Sexual Advocates will help you tell your parents or your employers if you want them to.
- If you feel you need to leave your place of residence to be safe, a sexual advocate can help you find placement at a shelter, free of cost.
Family Services of Southeast Texas, Inc.
HOTLINE 409-832-7575 FREE &CONFIDENTIAL
Sexual Assault Advocacy, Domestic Violence Advocacy, residential shelter services, food, clothing, hygiene products, counseling, group therapy, legal advocacy, protective orders
If you have recently been sexually assaulted, Family Services can send a certified sexual assault advocate to meet you at a local hospital for help and support. Our advocates are compassionate and supportive, and can provide crisis intervention and/or even be in the room with you, your family and/or friends at the hospital while medical and forensic examinations are conducted. The advocate will help you understand your rights as a victim of violence and let you know what other resources are available to you.
Please remember that if you are sexually assaulted, your first call should be to 911. Once you are safely away from your attacker, if possible, ask a friend or family member to wait with you until the police arrive. In order to preserve evidence, DO NOT BATHE, DOUCHE, SHOWER, brush your teeth or hair, change clothes, go to the bathroom, eat or drink, or clean your wounds until after you have been examined by the SANE nurse or have been given the okay by law enforcement.
It is your choice to report the assault to the police, but you can have a SANE exam done as a “non-reporter” and make the decision to press charges or not at a later time. Even if you decide not to report the assault, you should seek medical attention from a hospital or clinic and it is never too late to call the Family Services hotline for support. The SANE exam is available to adult survivors of sexual violence 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Court and Law Enforcement Accompaniments
Family service advocates can also accompany you to any law enforcement interview or criminal justice proceedings where you want the support of an advocate. This sometimes includes meeting with attorneys, trials, filing a police report, interviews with law enforcement, etc.