If you were sexually assaulted in the past 120 hours, there are some immediate steps you can take:
- Address your immediate safety and get to a safe place
- If you want, contact a trusted friend or family member for support or call People Against Rape’s 24/7 hotline at 843-745-0144
- You can be examined and cared for at an emergency room*
- If the assault occurred within the past 120 hours (5 days), you can receive a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE Exam) at MUSC’s Emergency Department at no cost to you
- The SAFE Exam is conducted by Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners at MUSC. Learn more about sexual assault services through MUSC
- During the exam, evidence will be collected, you will also receive medical attention for any injuries and you will be offered preventative medication for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- You do NOT have to report to police to receive free medical attention
- Try not to not shower, bathe, eat, drink, smoke, change clothes, or use the restroom if at all possible. This is important to preserve evidence.
- If possible do not change your clothes, if you already changed, put your clothes in a clean paper bag (not plastic bag) and bring those clothes with you to the hospital
You can get support. A PAR advocate will meet you at the ER.
If you have concerns about the hospital SAFE exam being billed to your insurance, don't worry - the hospital forensic exam is free of charge and does not bill insurance.
You can also choose to not go the ER and still get support by calling our hotline at 843-745-0144. No matter what decisions you make, know that you have done the best that you can.
*A note about SAFE exams:
- Sexual Assault Forensic Exams (SAFEs) are provided free of charge to victims of sexual assault and suspected sexual assault, as long as the victim seeks medical help in the first 120 hours (or 5 days) after the assault occurs.
- Victims do not need to report the crime to the police in order to receive free medical care. During the exam, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) will collect patient history and information about the crime that occurred, collect physical evidence, including photographs of injuries, and will also treat any injuries, and give preventative medications for STIs and pregnancy. If you choose to seek medical attention, go to:
MUSC Adult Emergency Room
96 Jonathan Lucas St.
Charleston, SC 29403
- When you get to MUSC, tell the person at the desk that you are there for a SAFE exam, or say you've been sexually assaulted. You can also write either of those things on a piece of paper and hand it to that person if you are more comfortable doing that.
- The ER will then call a specially trained nurse and will also call an advocate from People Against Rape, who will meet you in the waiting room. The advocate will stay with you through the entire exam as long as you want him/her to do so. If you would like your advocate to wait outside, simply let them know.
- Conducting the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam will be a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. Find out more about sexual assault services through MUSC here.
- If you have reported to the police, it is likely that they have already initiated an investigation. If you have not yet reported to police, you can at any time, but you do not have to.
- If you choose not to report to police right away, the evidence collected during the exam will be kept in an anonymous rape kit, which is called an Anonymous Report. The evidence collected will be stored for one year, to give you time to decide whether you want to report the crime. Additionally, you can still choose to report to the police more than one year after the assault, however you will no longer have the evidence kit to assist in a case.