- If you are survivor of a sexual assault, get to a safe place as quickly as possible.
- Call a close friend, Resident Director, or another trusted person who can be support for you.
- Call University Police or any other police agency-even if you are unsure about pressing charges.
- Seek medical attention and/or evidence collection at the hospital if the violence/sexual assault occurred within the last 96 hours. SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital provides a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE).
- Use Project Safe, the University Counseling office, or other resources for crisis counseling, seeking treatment, or other related needs.
Medical Care and Treatment
For the person who just experienced an assault, it's important to get to a safe place and make a decision about what to do next. Some options include calling the police, going to the hospital, making a doctor's appointment and/or telling a friend or support person.
A medical examination is also recommended for cases of possible sexual assault and where injuries have resulted from an incident of intimate partner abuse/domestic violence. A medical examination can occur at SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital, or by contacting Project Safe. A hospital is the location where both an advocate can be called, and evidence can be collected.
If an individual is uncertain about whether or not they want to report what has occurred, they can still get evidence collected. Typically, the evidence collection exam may be performed by a doctor or a nurse specifically trained: a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). In cases of sexual assault, within the first 96 hours of an assault is the best time for evidence collection; however, under certain circumstances, it may be collected after this time frame. It is not necessary for evidence to be collected in order for a case to be reported; however it's easier to investigate and prosecute cases that have physical evidence, but it is not impossible to go forward without it.
Useful Information Regarding Medical Care from SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital
Seek medical attention and/or evidence collection at the hospital if the violence/sexual assault occurred within the last 96 hours. St. Anthony's provides a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE).
SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital is located just north of campus on MacArthur Drive (next to Village Apartment Complex).
Support and Counseling
In the event where sexual violence has occurred, a survivor often experiences a sense of losing control over the situation, and it is natural to feel a tremendous loss of power and control over life during these times. It can be hard to know what to say or do to help someone who is a survivor of sexual violence.
Survivors are encouraged to seek out a professional counseling using the University Counseling office or other local counseling services. Appointments with OBU’s Kemp Clinic can be made by calling 405.585.4530. Counseling services are free for OBU students and are confidential. If necessary, the Kemp Clinic can refer you to another counseling center.
Things to consider when interacting with a survivor
Are you aware of someone who is a survivor of sexual violence? Below are some suggestions about how you can help.
Do not judge the survivor. An individual is likely examining himself or herself very critically during this time. Asking questions regarding details of the assault, why the individual was at a specific place, doing a specific behavior, etc. only places blame on the survivor for the actions of the perpetrator. No matter what their behavior prior to the assault, they are not responsible- the perpetrator is. Following sexual violence, an individual may try to understand their role in what happened, but it's important to be clear that they are not responsible for the actions of others.
Do not attempt to impose your explanation of why this has happened or try to "fix" the situation. It may come across to the survivor as victim-blaming. The only real explanation is that the perpetrator chose to act as they did. In addition, you don't have to fix the situation; you just have to be supportive.
Remind survivors that their feelings are understandable. There are many symptoms that the individual may experience; these are typical reactions to traumatic events. If they are experiencing feelings, emotions, or physical systems that are out of the ordinary, it is due to the fact they have just experienced a traumatic event.
Do not attempt to reassure the person that everything is "Okay" or tell them you know how they feel. Because at this time, everything is not okay. Making statements such as Don't worry about it, You're going to be fine, etc. may serve to minimize the victimized person's feelings and downplay the seriousness of the event(s) which occurred. Also, each person handles these situations differently, so chances are you don't know exactly how they feel.
Be willing to say nothing. Just being there is often the biggest help.
Do not feel intimidated by the intense emotions of survivors. Remember, you don't have to fix the situation, just be supportive. There are many people at the University who can help provide support.
Encourage the survivor to seek counseling and post-trauma services. There are trained professionals that can assist the survivor on many levels. Remind them that counseling is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength and of taking control of the situation. Appointments can be made by calling the Kemp MFT Clinic at 405.585.4530.
Find your own support. You are also affected by this situation. You can't support someone else if you aren't supported as well. You cannot expect the survivor to provide support for you, find other friends, support people, or counseling to share your own feelings related to what happened to your friend.