Health Services: A Guide for Victims of Sexual Assault

Health Services: A Guide for Victims of Sexual Assault

Because rape is everyone's problem, it is important for all Penn State students to know where to turn for help and what to do if they are raped or have a friend who has been raped.  Whether the rapist was a stranger, acquaintance, close friend, or date, there are certain services you need to know about in order to get the treatment you need.

Penn State Mont Alto offers a student victim of sexual assault medical treatment, emotional support, and access to legal information.  Health care options, resources for psychological care, and sources of legal information are summarized below.  You may wish to review them and contact the various services as you need them while you are healing from the rape experience.

All services to sexual assault victims are confidential, except that physicians and hospital personnel are required by law to report rapes to the police.  It is the victim's choice, however, whether or not to talk to the police.

If you are raped....... 

  1. Get to a safe place as soon as you can.
  2. Try to preserve all physical evidence.  Do not bathe, douche, use the toilet, or change clothing.
  3. Contact the police
  4. Get medical attention as soon as possible
  5. Contact a close friend who can be with you until you feel safe again.  Your friend can also accompany you to the medical exam and/or police department.

Medical Treatment

It is important to seek medical attention immediately after and as a follow-up to sexual assault to determine the presence of physical injury, sexually transmissible diseases, or pregnancy, and to obtain evidence to assist in criminal prosecution.  Ideally, physical evidence should be collected immediately, but it can be collected up to but no later than 72 hours following a rape.

Immediate Emergency Services

Within the first 72 hours after an assault, a special exam should be conducted which includes the collection of evidence that may be used in a criminal prosecution.  This special exam is recommended to evaluate your physical condition as well as to maintain all of your legal options.  The exam is performed by an emergency physician.  A nurse is present throughout the procedure and a same-sex friend and/or advocate can also be present.

The exam is available to Penn State Mont Alto students at Waynesboro Hospital (501 East Main Street, Waynesboro).  The hospital emergency department follows national standards for victim care and is a recognized location in Franklin County for the rape exam and evidence collection.  If you are a woman and have been raped, there is a risk for a resulting pregnancy.  There is a medication that may reduce this risk by as much as 75%.  It is called Emergency Contraceptive Pills or ECP.  It must be administered within 72 hours of the rape to be effective.  The ECP is available from the campus Health Center.  Call 749-6160 for more information.

Cost: Your private health insurance may cover the cost of the exam, follow-up care, and transportation.  However, to protect your privacy, the University has arranged with Waynesboro Hospital to have the University pay for the exam and routine test, if you prefer.

Additionally, any rape-related care provided by University Health Services, including follow-up tests, will be paid for by the University.  If additional medical care beyond the initial rape exam and tests is required, expenses may be covered by the Pennsylvania Crime Victim's compensation fund or your private health insurance.

Transportation: Options paid for by Penn State include an ambulance, which can be reached by calling 911; or asking for University Police Services at 6070.  Another option is WIN/Victim Services, which has trained volunteers who can transport and accompany sexual assault victims to the hospital.

WIN's 24-hour hotline number is 1-264-4444 or 1-800-621-6660

Male Victims: While most victims of sexual assault are women, some men are also victims. It is important for men to know that male victims at Penn State are accorded the same services as women, including transportation, payment provisions, and support services.

Non-emergency Medical Procedures

If the rape or sexual assault occurred in the recent or distant past and you did not have the emergency exam within the first 72 hours, it is still important to have a medical exam.  This exam will include treatment of any physical problems and various lab tests for sexually transmissible diseases and pregnancy.  This non-emergency treatment can be arranged by calling the campus Health Center at 749-6160 or by visiting their office Monday through Friday during posted clinic hours.  If you say that you have been a victim of sexual assault, you will receive priority over routine patients.

If you are feeling anxious about your symptoms and come for treatment after 72 hours, you can still be seen at the Waynesboro Hospital Emergency Department.  However, at this time, the full rape evidence collection exam cannot be done.

Emotional Support Services

If you have been raped, you may be feeling:

  • A variety of strong emotions - fear, anxiety, depression, guilt, disorientation, powerlessness, shame, shock, disbelief, embarrassment, denial, anger.
  • A number of physical problems - sleep disturbances, nausea, stomach problems, change in eating habits, nightmares.
  • Confused and alone, wondering if you should tell your family and friends or how you should tell them.
  • That, even though the rape occurred a while ago, you would now like to talk to someone about what happened.

There are support services available to help you.

On Campus:

Counselors in Student Affairs provide services to students about a range of personal concerns and are available to provide psychological support to you in crisis situations such as rape.  Appointments for counseling services can be arranged by calling 717-749-6094. If you specify that it is an emergency situation or that you are in a crisis, you can be seen the same day by a staff member. Counselors will help you to deal with the emotional aftermath of rape, as well as think through your options for legal action and medical care.

Off Campus:

WIN/Victim Services located in Chambersburg, is a community agency with a 24-hour hotline, 1-264-4444 or 1-800-621-6660, staffed by volunteers who are trained to help you through the process of dealing with the emotional, legal, and medical issues of sexual assault. They can accompany you to the hospital, police, and court proceedings.  They also provide information, counseling, temporary shelter, and support groups for women who have been victims of sexual assault and incest.

Police and Legal Services

Rape is a crime. It is important to report a crime; reporting is not the same as prosecuting. The decision to prosecute can be made at a later time.

Immediate Emergency Service

Police Services, and off-campus local police departments are available 24 hours a day to aid victims of sexual assault. The police can ensure your safety at the scene of the rape and accompany you to the hospital.  The emergency telephone number is 911 for Police Services, Mont Alto Borough Police, and Pennsylvania State Police. The police also may call WIN/Victim Services to meet you at the hospital to provide support and answer you questions.

Ongoing Police and Legal Services

On and Off Campus:  The Police Department in the jurisdiction where the rape occurs is in charge of investigating rapes and sexual assaults. The results of the emergency rape exam and evidence collection can be used by them to identify the assailant. You can call the police at 911.

On Campus:  The Office of Student Affairs assists in setting standards for student behavior that help maintain a safe University environment.  If the suspect is a student, a victim can file a complaint against the alleged rapist through that office. Disciplinary action is taken with due process and can include separation of the assailant from the University and removal from University property. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The phone number is 749-6150.

Off Campus:  The District Attorney's Office presents the state's case against accused rapists and others suspected of committing crimes. The district attorney (DA) evaluates the evidence and decides on the possibility of successful prosecution. The DA's office is located in the Franklin County Courthouse at 157 Lincoln Way East in Chambersburg. The phone number is 1-261-3827. Hours are 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. or by appointment.

Follow-Up Care

After the initial treatment for rape, it is critical that the victim receive follow-up care. The testing done immediately after an assault or within a few days does not necessarily identify all potential problems that could result from a rape. A follow-up exam and testing two weeks after the rape affords the opportunity to find medical problems such as infections that may have gone undetected during the initial exam. Follow-up exams should be scheduled at the campus health center regardless of where the initial exam took place. Specify that you are a recent victim of sexual assault in order to get an appointment at your convenience.

Resource Directory

Medical Treatment

Waynesboro Hospital Emergency Department

Emotional Support

1-264-4444 or 1-800-621-6660

Student Affairs (University)

717-749-6130 or 717-749-6094

Police and Legal Information

Campus Police

District Attorney
Franklin County Courthouse
Chambersburg, PA

This publication is available in alternative media on request.

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons have equal access to programs, facilities, admission, and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. The Pennsylvania State University does not discriminate against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Direct all affirmative action inquiries to the Affirmative Action Office, The Pennsylvania State University, 201 Williard Building, University Park, PA 16802-2801; tel. (814) 865-4700/v, (814) 863-1150/TTY.  U.Ed MAO 99-72.