You can still be an Active Bystander and make a difference even after violence happens. Here are some ways that you can support a victim of sexual violence in getting the help they need.
If Someone Discloses to You
If someone comes to you to tell you that they have been sexually assaulted here are some important tips for how to help them:
DO believe them – fear of not being believed is a big reason many victims never tell, and your support can help someone heal.
DON’T blame them – no matter what a victim was wearing or doing, sexual assault is NEVER their fault. Sexual assault is a choice that the perpetrator makes.
DO help them find resources – looking for help in a time of crisis can be difficult; you can help a victim by searching for resources and letting them know what’s available.
DON’T try to rescue them or pressure them – a victim of sexual assault has had all of their power taken away by the perpetrator. An important step to healing is to be empowered to take control again. So, don’t try to take over or pressure them into doing anything before their ready.
DO support their decisions – you can empower a victim simply by supporting their decisions during their healing process.
Options for Victims
Someone who has been sexually assaulted in our city has several different options:
Contact: The Rape Crisis Center: anyone can call the hotline (702-366-1640) at any time of day or night. Victims can talk to a trained advocate and get resources and support. Victims (and their supporters) can also access services such as counseling, long term advocacy, and group support. Services at The Rape Crisis Center are confidential, can be used even if the victim chooses not to make a report to police, and can be accessed at any time no matter how recent or long ago an assault was.
Go to UMC Hospital: if the assault happened within the last 5 days, victims can go to UMC hospital for a SANE exam (also known as a rape kit). This exam can be done with a report to the police the same day, or with the option to wait 30 days before deciding to make a police report. Victims may also skip the kit and only receive medical care following an assault. If the victim chooses, an advocate from The Rape Crisis Center can see them at the hospital. Learn more about getting an exam at UMC hospital here.
Report to Police: there are many reasons why a victim might not want to report an assault to the police, but some victims may feel ready to report right away. If a victim does choose to report right away, police can even provide transportation to UMC hospital (in such situations, call 911). Otherwise, a report can be made by calling the following:
- Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sexual Assault Unit: 702-828-3421
- Henderson Police Department: 702-267-4570
- North Las Vegas Police Department: 702-633-9111