We are here to help.
Catholic Charities services are available to all people in need regardless of race, ethnic/national origin, religion, sexual orientation or marital status. Sexual Assault is a term that is used to describe any forced or unwanted sexual activity including rape, incest, molestation and exhibitionism. It is not a crime of passion but rather a crime of violence.
That isn’t as unusual as you might think. We are surrounded by images of sexual assault that portray situations as perpetrated by strangers, at knife point….. the reality is that most victims of sexual assault know there attacker and it is much more likely that the attacker has used coercion than force to get the victim to do what they want. We encourage you to call the Catholic Charities Sexual Assault Program and talk to someone . Chances are, if you feel uncomfortable about what happened, you may need some help deciding what your options are.
If you have been sexually assaulted you can:
- The first and most important thing is to make sure you are safe. Take a deep breath and try to focus. Experiencing trauma can leave you feeling confused and unsure.
- Find a friend or family. Is there a friend or family member you could call to get support and help choosing what you want to do from here?
- Call our 24 hour crisis line. A trained advocate is available for emotional support, options and referrals. 712-328-0266 or toll free at 1-888-612-0266.
Not in SW Iowa? Call: 1-800-284-7821
- Go to the nearest emergency room. Taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally is important. You do not have to have the police involved to go to the hospital. A nurse can perform an evidence collection kit and it can be kept until you do decide what to do. In Council Bluffs the hospitals will automatically call Catholic Charities to send an advocate for you. You decide if you want the advocate to stay with you during your time there.
- Maintain evidence. If you decide to go to the hospital do not eat or drink anything before you go so an evidence collection kit can be performed. If you change clothes, take them with you. Do not shower. All these things will potentially get rid of evidence that may be able to be collected.
- Report the assault to the police. You do not have to have the police involved to go to the hospital.
- Receive legal advocacy. If you choose to make a police report, a Catholic Charities advocate will support you through the criminal justice process.
- Seek counseling. Short-term, goal focused counseling is available to adolescent and adult victims, partners of victims and parents of children who have been sexually assaulted.