How to Report a Rape that Happens on Campus
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Reporting a rape can be difficult for survivors. Feelings of shock, fear, depression, anger and shame often make confronting what happened all over again with police, doctors and counselors seem like an overwhelming task. Rape survivors must understand that what happened to them is not their fault. They are victims of a violent crime.
If you’ve been raped on a campus or university, the first thing you should do is go somewhere you feel safe such as a friend’s dorm room or house, a public place, the campus police station, etc. It’s important not to isolate yourself or ignore the crime that has been committed against you.
Once You Feel Safe, Report the Rape by:
- Seeking Help. Call the local police, campus police, a friend, a relative or a rape crisis center immediately. Contacting campus police may be the best action for students; however, campus police generally involve local law enforcement in the process.
- Seeking Medical Attention. It’s important to get medical attention – not only for you, but also to help convict your abuser. While it might seem too difficult, most rape crisis centers have trained advocates that can stay with you at the hospital to support you. If you would like, call for a rape crisis center advocate or ask law enforcement or hospital staff to call the rape crisis center for you, so that an advocate can be with you as support.
A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) – a qualified forensic nurse with special training to conduct sexual assault evidentiary exams for rape victims – is generally on call 24-hours a day and will arrive at the hospital emergency room within an hour of the rape victim’s arrival.
In addition to the collection of forensic evidence (rape kit test and collection of clothing), they also provide crisis intervention counseling, STI testing, drug testing if drug-facilitated rape is suspected and emergency contraception. The cost of the exam is generally covered by state funds pursuant to the Violence Against Women Act.
Note: Do not shower, wash, douche, brush your hair or change your clothes as you need to preserve physical evidence of the sexual assault. If you suspect that you may have been given a “date rape” drug, ask the medical provider to take a urine sample as drugs are more likely to be detected in urine than in blood.
- Seeking Counseling. It is essential to get counseling from a professional therapist, support group, a friend or a family member. Rape, in any form, is a violent crime that evokes many emotions and shouldn’t be dealt with alone. There are national and local rape crisis hotlines available to survivors to get more information or simply talk to someone who understands what you’ve been through.
National Domestic Violence / Sexual Assault Hotlines
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
- National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline: 1-866-331-9474
Local Domestic Violence / Sexual Assault Hotlines
For a list of North Carolina county crisis hotline numbers, see Domestic Violence Shelters in North Carolina.
Mandatory Rape Reporting Requirements in North Carolina
North Carolina law does not require rape survivors to report the crime except in the following circumstances:
- Everyone has a duty to report in cases where there is suspected, 1) child abuse and/or neglect by a parent, guardian, custodian or caretaker and 2) abuse, neglect or exploitation of a disabled or elder adult by their caretaker.
- Physicians and hospitals must report to law enforcement certain kinds of wounds, injuries or illnesses.
- School principals must report immediately to law enforcement when he or she has personal or actual knowledge that an act has occurred on school property involving certain offenses.
- Photo processors or computer technicians who, within the scope of their employment, come across images of a minor (or one who reasonably appears to be a minor) engaging in sexual activity.
Those reports, either written or oral, should be made to the Director of the County Department of Social Services in the county in which the child or disabled adult resides or is found.