Sexual Assault and Evidence Preservation

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual Assault is sexual contact/behavior that occurs without consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault is sexual activity such as forced sexual intercourse, sodomy, molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape. It includes sexual acts against people who are unable to consent either due to age or lack of capacity.

What to do if you are sexually assaulted?

  1. Go to a safe place and get help quickly.
  2. Call the police as soon as possible by dialing 256-782-5050 or 911.
  3. Get medical attention immediately.
  4. If possible, please do not bathe or douche, smoke, use the toilet or clean the location where the incident occurred.
  5. Save items you were wearing, sheets, or towels in a paper bag. Preserving these items may be helpful in obtaining a protection order or in proceeding with a criminal investigation if you choose to do so. 
  6. Don’t disturb the physical surrounding in which the rape took place.
  7. Seek counseling.

What to do if someone you know is sexually assaulted

  1. Call the police by dialing 256-782-5050 or 911.
  2. Start by believing, do not judge them.
  3. Give comfort; listen to what they have to say, and provide reassurance and support.
  4. Encourage (but do not force) action – having a medical exam, reporting the crime, seeking counseling, etc.
  5. Don’t let your feelings get in the way of helping the victim.

Additional Information on Evidence Preservation:

Completing a forensic exam does not require you to file a police report or report to the university, although we encourage these reports or at least seek services and support. 

Medical exams can address physical needs or trauma and assess for sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy.

Text messages, records, of phone calls, emails, pictures, notes, and gifts can all be pertinent for a report of sexual assault, dating violencedomestic violence or stalking.