Your immediate safety is the first priority: call 911 if you are not safe.
When you are safe, seek medical attention right away. This is the first step of recovery. Call 911 and describe the assault or rape. Do not shower or bathe: this will interfere with the collection of important forensic evidence. For the same reason, do not wash any clothing – including underwear – that was worn during the assault or rape. It is ok to put the clothing in a paper bag (not a plastic bag). When the 911 operator receives your call, if you are uninjured, a police officer will transport you to the Philadelphia Safety Collaborative (300 E. Hunting Park Ave., Philadelphia; 215-425-1625); this is where PSARC (Philadelphia Sexual Assault Resource Center) and the police department’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) are located. If you previously put your clothing in a paper bag, be sure to bring it.
As an alternative to calling 911, you may also call SVU (24/7: 215-685-3251) and go there without a police officer providing the transportation. Reports are not taken over the phone. SVU and PSARC operate 24/7; they help victim/survivors day and night.
If you are seriously injured, go to a hospital and explain what happened. The hospital will call 911 to ensure that the above occurs when your health status is stable.
At SVU, you will be asked to describe what happened to a detective. We strongly encourage survivors to do this: it is often another step of recovery. A specially trained PSARC nurse will conduct a sexual assault exam that assesses your health and any injuries. Collection of forensic evidence also occurs. First aid and medication may be given, and the nurse will explain important information about STD’s, birth control, and medical aftercare. In many situations, a WOAR advocate may provide in-person support at PSARC. If this cannot be arranged, a WOAR advocate will follow up with you by phone.