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Sexual Assault - Frequently Asked Questions

I think I was sexually assaulted. What do I need to be worried about?

The first thing you need to worry about is your immediate safety. Do what you need to do to make yourself safe. It may be helpful to contact someone you trust, a crisis service, police or hospital. You also need to make sure there are no immediate physical injuries that need to be looked after.

  • If there has been vaginal intercourse then you need to consider the possibility of pregnancy (if that is a risk for you). You can get the emergency contraceptive pill to reduce the possibility of pregnancy. It must be taken within 5 days of being sexually assaulted. You can get this at a Sexual Health Clinic, doctor's office, walk-in clinic or at a hospital sexual assault treatment centreExternal Link
  • Another concern may be the possibility of getting a sexually transmitted infection. Medication can be taken immediately after an assault to prevent certain infections (chlamydia External Link, gonorrhea External Link, incubating syphilis External Link) without having to undergo an examination.
  • You may choose treatment for possible exposure to hepatitis B (if you have not had the vaccine before). That is offered at the hospital and needs to be done preferably within 48 hours of the assault.
  • You may choose to have an HIV test at some point. The waiting period is usually 14 weeks before a test can be done, however there are times when it can be done earlier if it is a concern for you. There are sites that can do this testing anonymously. Treatment is available for possible exposure to HIV, however it also needs to be taken within hours of the assault and is still somewhat controversial. It may be helpful to know that there is less than a 1% chance of contracting HIV from a single act of vaginal intercourse.
  • Your emotional health also needs to be a concern for you. Experiencing sexual assault is very traumatizing and so seeking counselling is going to help you for your long-term healing.

    Related Topics - What to Do if You Experience Sexual Assault and Community Supports for Sexual Assault/Violence

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I have been raped. Do I need to tell the police?

If you have experienced sexual assault it is your choice whether to notify the police. It is important for you to feel in control of what happens to you after you have experienced sexual violence. If you have experienced a recent assault there are different options available.

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I read about people being drugged and then sexually assaulted. How do I prevent this?

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself against drug related rape. The most important thing is to understand that it can happen to anyone, anywhere. Always watch your drink and follow these safety tips:

  • Always keep an eye on your drink even if it means taking it with you while you dance or go to the washroom.
  • At a bar or a club, accept drinks only from a bartender or server.
  • At social gatherings, (including house parties) do not accept drinks that have already been opened or were made by someone else.
  • PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR FRIENDS. If after a couple (small amount) of drinks your friend suddenly appears extremely intoxicated, confused, or experiences symptoms of dizziness or extreme drowsiness... GO TO a hospital emergency room immediately. Try to keep a sample of the drink for testing.
  • Remember - the drugs used are often odourless, colourless, tasteless, and difficult to detect in any type of drink.

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