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Jessica Ensley - Columnist

How to take care of yourself after an assault occurs

Steps to take for survivors after being raped or sexually assaulted on campus.

Trigger warning: This column discusses what to do to take care of yourself physically after being raped or sexually assaulted. Some may find this triggering.

Sexual assault and rape happen on Ohio University’s campus. Many people might not know what to expect before, or after, an attack. If you are being followed, the advocates of the Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program advise people to get to the closest safe space. This could be a dorm, the library or a coffee shop. Just get to a safe place and then call your friends, the police or anyone who can come help you.

After an attack, the most important thing is that you are physically OK. If you feel comfortable doing so, go to the hospital. If you need a ride to the hospital, OUSAP is available 24/7 during regular semesters. The hotline number is 740-597-SAFE (7233). OUSAP will either help you get a ride or give you one. If you request it, an OUSAP advocate can stay with you at any point during your visit to the hospital.

Once you get to the hospital, you will have the option of taking a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam. It is always best to get the exam done as soon as possible and without interrupting anything that could get in the way of that. It’s advisable for survivors to not shower, brush their teeth, drink anything, go to the bathroom, etc. The exam needs to take place within 96 hours (four days) of the attack. The cost of the kit itself is free for the patient. You can take the kit anonymously and any gender can use it. The kit includes a prophylactic shot, which prevents against some STIs. It also includes Plan B, which can help reduce the risk of pregnancy.

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At any point, if you do not wish to participate in certain aspects of the exam, you can opt out. Some people might find the portion of the exam when photos are taken to be violating. That is OK, so do what makes you feel most comfortable.

You will be asked by the hospital staff to tell them what events took place around the attack. You will not get in trouble if you are drunk or high, even if you are underage. If you think you have been drugged, tell the staff. They can then take a blood sample to test it. Once the SAFE exam is complete, you can report the assault if that is something you want. If you are suffering from domestic abuse, you can call the only domestic shelter in Athens, My Sister’s Place. Its hotline is 800-433-3402.

Your emotional and mental health is also incredibly important. If you want to talk or know what your options are, call OUSAP or stop by its office, which is located in the McKee House basement for the rest of the semester.

I learned this information by stopping into OUSAP and asking and by talking to past advocates. While the university is moving the program to a more appropriate location, the administration still has not guaranteed OUSAP will have the proper funding that it needs on it's own terms. The program is incredibly important for the safety and well-being of survivors on campus, and its continuation needs to be guaranteed.

Jessica Ensley is a senior studying journalism and an active member of F--kRapeCulture. Email her at

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