Personal Safety & How to Help a Friend
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
If you are concerned for your safety, and would like assistance in establishing a
safety plan, in a confidential setting, a Counselor at the Counseling and Health Center
(CHC), the YWCA Sexual Assault Program, or a Call to Safety Advocate (formerly known
as Portland Women’s Crisis Line) can help you explore your options.
If you would like to speak with someone who might be able to help you make decisions
and begin to heal, the Counselors at the CHC offer counselors offer free, confidential,
If you have been sexually assaulted or physically harmed, consider seeing a health-care provider to treat any injuries and discuss possible pregnancy concerns and/or sexually transmitted infections.
The Counseling and Health Center provides low-cost STI and pregnancy testing, treatment
for injuries, and can assist with referrals.
Safe Kit – Evidence Collection
If you have been sexually assaulted and might want to press charges, it is ideal to have forensic evidence collected immediately by completing a Sexual Assault Forensics Exam (SAFE kit).
A SAFE kit can be obtained by visiting a local hospital’s emergency department within 84 hours of the assault. Choosing to get a SAFE kit does not obligate you to make a police report. Any evidence collected will be held for up to 6 months, giving you time to decide whether you would like to file a report in the future.
To preserve evidence, it is best to not change clothes or shower. If you do remove
clothing, place them in a paper (not plastic) bag. If oral contact took place, try
not to smoke, eat, drink, or brush your teeth until evidence can be collected.
Helping a Friend
If you know someone who has experienced violence:
- Believe them
- Let them know it was not their fault
- Avoid blaming or criticizing statements
- Suggest they consider talking with a confidential support resource
- Help them learn about their reporting and medical care options
- Allow them to make choices
- If you witness abuse or assault, intervene in a safe way
If you would like more suggestions on how to help a friend, contact the Counseling and Health Center to speak with a Counselor.
More information and options regarding this topic can be found on the Title IX page.