Survivor Response Guide

There is no one way a survivor will feel or act after being victimized. However, oftentimes survivors are unsure how to deal with their feelings and the behaviors that stem from these feelings, as well as confusion about what their legal, administrative, health, and social support options are. This guide outlines services available to victims who report, wish to report, or have experienced sexual violence.

1. Go to a safe place as soon as possible following an assault.

If sexual violence occurs, safety and medical assistance are the first considerations.

2. Seek medical assistance and preventative care. 

Regardless of the desire to press charges, medical evaluation is important to address physical injuries which may not be readily apparent. Call the Emergency Medical Services on campus at 911 (emergency) or 979.845.1525, or go to the nearest emergency room. Here are some options in the Bryan/College Station area:

At the hospital a sexual assault examination (also known as a forensic examination) can be conducted to gather evidence, whether or not you choose to prosecute at that time. This procedure includes a physical exam where a doctor or a trained nurse collects the evidence of the assault. You will need to bring an extra set of clothing; the clothing worn during the assault will be collected as evidence.

When an incident is reported, a police detective will come to the emergency room to talk with you. A sexual assault response advocate from the Sexual Assault Resource Center will also be called to serve as a support person.

It is important to preserve physical evidence of any assault. If you believe you have been drugged, traces of the drug may still appear up to 96 hours after ingestion (depending on dosage, and individual metabolism) the chances of getting proof are best when the sample is obtained quickly. In general, evidence collection is best if done immediately following an assault or within 96 hours. The more time that passes between the sexual assault and medical collection of evidence; the less likely it will be to collect evidence which may be used in the prosecution of a criminal case. Survivors of sexual assault should NOT shower or bathe, wash hands, use the toilet, change clothing, or wash clothing or bedding. If you have changed clothes and are at a location other then the crime scene, carefully place all clothing worn at the time (or bedding) into a paper bag to be given to the police.

3. Consider seeking psychological counseling or other support.

The aftermath of a sexual assault is different for everyone, and healing can be a long journey. Many things affect a person’s response to the trauma of sexual assault, such as past trauma, past sexual assault experiences, current coping skills, current support network, and the relationship to the attacker. While the emotional consequences of sexual assault can be varied, some of the more common reactions include:

  • Emotional numbness and shock
  • Denial and anger
  • Loss of control and powerlessness
  • Self blame and guilt
  • Shame and embarrassment
  • Hopelessness and depression
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Isolation and social withdrawal
  • Relationship and trust difficulties
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Flashbacks and assault memories

It can be helpful to seek support and counseling from Student Counseling Services.

There are many additional services available on campus and in the community to support survivors. Call Student Assistance Services 979.845.3113 or reference the Sexual Violence Survivor Resource Guide for a list of service providers.

4. Seek assistance from a survivor’s resource

Advocates can meet with you or talk with you on the phone to provide options about police reporting, medical and counseling services, student conduct options, and a variety of other resources. Call Student Assistance Services 979.845.3113 or reference the Sexual Violence Survivor Resource Guide for a list of advocacy agencies.

5. Explore legal options with the relevant police department

Call the University Police Department at 911 (emergency) or 979.845.2345 (non-emergency #). An anonymous “Jane/John Doe” report can be filed with the police while deciding whether to pursue criminal charges.

A criminal investigation may occur independent from a student conduct proceeding on campus if the offender is an enrolled student at Texas A&M University.

6. Explore University disciplinary options with the Student Conduct Office

You may file an incident report as a violation of Student Rules through the student conduct process. In this case, Texas A&M University does not require the same type of physical evidence to file a complaint as the legal system. The alleged incident may have happened either on or off campus. For more information or to submit a report contact the Student Conduct Office or call 979.847.7272.