What is sexual assault?
Sexual Assault. - Intentional sexual contact characterized by use
of force, threats, intimidation, or abuse of authority or when the
victim does not or cannot consent. Sexual assault includes rape,
forcible sodomy (oral or anal sex), and other unwanted sexual
contact that is aggravated, abusive, or wrongful (including unwanted
and inappropriate sexual contact), or attempts to commit these acts.
[Source: Glossary, DoDD 6495.01, 23 Jan 12]
I have been sexually assaulted. What should I do?
If you have been sexually assaulted or think you have been, go to a
safe location away from the perpetrator. If you want to talk with
someone or want assistance, you have individuals who are ready to
help. Make sure you understand the difference between a restricted
and unrestricted report so that those you reach out to will
understand your needs and can best assist you.
You may contact your local Sexual Assault Response Coordinator
(SARC), Victim Advocate (VA) or healthcare provider. Your
communication with the SARC, VA or healthcare provider is privileged
and confidential except in specific circumstances. While a chaplain
cannot take a restricted report, communication with a chaplain may
be privileged under the Military Rules of Evidence or applicable
statutes and regulations when they are made confidentially and as a
formal act of religion or as a matter of conscience. Chaplains may
not disclose a confidential or privileged communication revealed in
the practice of their ministry without the individual's informed
You may also contact your chain of command or law enforcement
(military or civilian); however, if you contact your chain of
command or law enforcement, an investigation will occur, and you
will not have the option of making a restricted report (see below).
Seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if, like many sexual
assault victims, you do not have any visible physical injuries, you
may be at risk of becoming pregnant or acquiring a sexually
transmitted disease. Ask the healthcare provider to conduct a sexual
assault forensic examination to preserve forensic evidence in case
you decide later that you want to file an unrestricted report of
sexual assault which may lead to prosecution. If you suspect you may
have been drugged, request that a urine sample be collected.
Preserve all evidence of the assault. Even if you feel an intense
need to clean yourself, do not bathe, wash your hands, eat, drink,
or brush your teeth. Do not clean or straighten up the crime scene.
You may not be thinking clearly due to the trauma, so taking these
steps at the outset will help preserve evidence that investigators
or law enforcement personnel may need to collect in the event that
you file an unrestricted report.
SAPR Regional/Local SARCs Contact Information. You can
also receive 24/7 anonymous assistance at the
DOD SAFE Helpline at 877-995-5247