If you choose to file an official police report, or may want to in the future, RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) recommends for the purposes of evidence collection that you do not:
- Use the restroom
- Change or dispose of clothes worn when the assault occurred
- Comb your hair
- Clean up the crime scene
- Move anything the offender may have touched.
From the standpoint of evidence collection, these recommendations are all helpful, but often difficult to remember, and often counter-intuitive. For example, on instinct, the first thing you may want to do is shower. This makes complete sense—you may want to feel “clean”, be worried about pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, or just feel that you need to do something “normal” while you try to process what happened. You may have already showered before reading this. Showering or doing anything that that might reduce the amount of evidence you have doesn’t mean that your assault wasn’t “real”—something awful happened to you, and everyone tries to cope or protect themselves in their own way. Being a survivor of assault does not make you dirty, or used, or broken, or any other awful thing that might make you feel that you do not deserve protection, help, or respect. The opposite is true. It was not your fault. You deserve support, care, autonomy, and respect.