If you are serving stateside and on shore:
We recommend that you go to a civilian hospital immediately after the rape to have a rape kit done. Do not shower, wash, change your clothes, brush your teeth or drink water. Just go as you are. At the hospital you have the right to request a female nurse/doctor and have whoever you choose to be/not be in your room during the rape kit examination. You do not have to report the rape but at least by having the rape kit you’ll have the opportunity to do so in the future and have the forensic evidence needed. Most hospital will keep the kits for only a certain amount of time so ask the hospital for their policy.
If you have any physical injuries from the assault the hospital will take photos. It is recommended that you take photos yourself, or have a comrade or friend help you. It is best to keep any evidence that you can even if you do not know if you want to report it. Even if you choose to not report it, you can use the photos and any other evidence that you gathered yourself (not rape kit) for compensation at the VA once you get out of the service. If you are living on base or in military housing all evidence that you self-gathered should be kept at a civilian friends or family home. We have heard of incidents in which military officials break into barracks room to take memory cards from cameras and journals.
The next step is to decide if you want to report it or not. You may feel that you have done something to constitute being raped but remember nothing that you have done was or contributed to the rape. The only person that is responsible for the rape is the person committing the rape.
You may have committed a violation of the UCMJ such as underage drinking or fraternization. Those violations most likely will be used against you we often see victims being prosecuted for such crimes but do not allow this to be the reason of not reporting it.
If you decide to report the rape you have two option; restricted and unrestricted.
Restricted reporting allows a sexual assault victim to confidentially disclose the details of his or her assault to specified individuals and receive medical treatment and counseling, without triggering the official investigative process. Service members who are sexually assaulted and desire restricted reporting under this policy may only report the assault to the SARC, VA or a HCP. However, consistent with current policy, they may also report the assault to a chaplain. Although a report to a chaplain is not a restricted report under this policy or the provisions of this Directive, it is a communication that may be protected under the Military Rules of Evidence (MRE) or applicable statutes and regulations. The restricted reporting process does not affect any privilege recognized under the MRE. This Directive and its policy on restricted reporting is in addition to the current protections afforded privileged communications with a chaplain, and does not alter or affect those protections.
Healthcare personnel will initiate the appropriate care and treatment, and report the sexual assault to the SARC in lieu of reporting the assault to law enforcement or the command. Upon notification of a reported sexual assault, the SARC will immediately assign a VA to the victim. The assigned Victim Advocate will provide accurate information on the process of restricted vice unrestricted reporting.
At the victim’s discretion/request an appropriately trained healthcare personnel shall conduct a sexual assault forensic examination (SAFE), which may include the collection of evidence. In the absence of a DoD provider, the service member will be referred to an appropriate civilian facility for the SAFE.
Who May Make A Restricted Report
Restricted reporting is available at this time only to military personnel of the Armed Forces and the Coast Guard. Military personnel include members on active duty and members of the Reserve component (Reserve and National Guard) provided they are performing federal duty (active duty training or inactive duty training and members of the National Guard in Federal (Title 10) status). Members of the Reserve Component not performing Federal duty are not eligible. Retired members of any component are not eligible. Dependents are not eligible. DoD civilian employees are not eligible.
Example Restricted Reporting
Service Member Smith arrives at the base medical emergency room and reports she has been sexually assaulted. Healthcare personnel immediately notify the SARC and begin any appropriate emergency medical treatment.
The SARC assigns a VA to assist Service Member Smith. The VA meets Service Member Smith at the hospital and explains the Unrestricted/Restricted Reporting options and the processes associated with each, to include applicable pros/cons.
Service Member Smith elects the Restricted Reporting option.
Service Member Smith is asked if she would like a forensic examination, and she agrees.
The VA advises the healthcare personnel that Service Member Smith has elected the Restricted Reporting option and would like a SAFE.
Forensic evidence of the assault is collected and preserved in a non-personally identifying manner.
The healthcare personnel determines and schedules follow-up medical treatment as appropriate.
The VA advises the SARC that Service Member Smith has elected the Restricted Reporting option.
Within 24 hours of Service Member Smith’s restricted report, the SARC will inform the Senior Commander that an assault has occurred, and provide the Commander with non-identifying personal information/details related to the sexual assault allegation. This information includes: rank; gender; age; race; service; date; time and/or location. Information is disclosed in a manner that preserves the victim’s anonymity. Careful consideration of which details to include is of particular significance at installations or other locations where there are a limited number of minority females or female officers assigned.
The Senior Commander may notify the Criminal Investigators. However, no criminal investigation will be initiated unless originated from another source or the victim elects to come forward via unrestricted reporting. The Senior Commander identifies trends and takes appropriate measures (i.e. increased security patrols, enhanced education and training, enhanced environmental and safety measures) to prevent further sexual assaults.
The SARC maintains information regarding the number of sexual assaults for both unrestricted and restricted reports. Restricted report numbers will be included in the annual report. The SARC will also capture trends and perform trend analysis. SARC awareness of trends will be a first line of defense against a potential serial assailant. The SARC can at any time return to Service Member Smith to ask if she is willing to reconsider her restricted reporting decision given the potential of a serial offender.
The VA maintains communication and contact with the victim as needed for continued victim support.
Considerations when Electing a Restricted Reporting Decision
You receive appropriate medical treatment, advocacy, and counseling.
Provides some personal space and time to consider your options and to begin the healing process.
Empowers you to seek relevant information and support to make more informed decisions about participating in the criminal investigation.
You control the release and management of your personal information.
You decide whether and when to move forward with initiating an investigation.
Your assailant remains unpunished and capable of assaulting other victims.
You cannot receive a military protective order.
You will continue to have contact with your assailant, if he/she is in your organization or billeted with you.
Evidence from the crime scene where the assault occurred will be lost, and the official investigation, should you switch to an unrestricted report, will likely encounter significant obstacles.
You will not be able to discuss the assault with anyone, to include your friends, without imposing an obligation on them to report the crime. The only exceptions would be chaplains, designated healthcare personnel, your assigned victim advocate, and the sexual assault response coordinator.
You will be ineligible to invoke the collateral misconduct provision of the Department’s sexual assault policy in the event that your command learns that you had been engaged in some form of misconduct at the time you were assaulted.
This option is recommended for victims of sexual assault who desire an official investigation of the crime. When selecting unrestricted reporting, you should use current reporting channels, e.g. chain of command, law enforcement or report the incident to the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), or request healthcare personnel to notify law enforcement. Upon notification of a reported sexual assault, the SARC will immediately assign a Victim Advocate (VA). At the victim’s discretion/request, the healthcare personnel shall conduct a sexual assault forensic examination (SAFE), which may include the collection of evidence. Details regarding the incident will be limited to only those personnel who have a legitimate need to know.
Unrestricted Reporting Example
Service Member Smith arrives at the base medical emergency room and reports she has been sexually assaulted. Healthcare personnel immediately notify the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and begin administration of any emergency medical treatment as appropriate.
The SARC assigns a Victim Advocate (VA) to assist Service Member Smith. The VA meets Service Member Smith at the hospital, explains the Unrestricted/Restricted Reporting options and processes associated with each to include applicable pros/cons.
Service Member Smith elects the Unrestricted Reporting option.
The VA immediately notifies the appropriate Criminal Investigative Service and the victim’s unit commander.
Criminal Investigators arrive and begin the investigation.
Service Member Smith is asked if she would like a SAFE, and she agrees.
The VA advises the healthcare personnel that Service Member Smith has elected the Unrestricted Reporting option and would like a SAFE.
Forensic evidence of the assault is collected by healthcare personnel, and at its conclusion, criminal investigators take chain of custody.
The healthcare personnel determines and schedules follow-up medical treatment as appropriate.
The VA advises the SARC that Service Member Smith has elected the Unrestricted Reporting option.
In addition to any current existing channels of notification, within 24 hours of Service Member Smith’s Unrestricted report, the SARC will inform the Senior Commander that an assault has occurred, and provide the Commander with the details of the assault.
The SARC maintains information regarding the number of sexual assaults for both unrestricted and restricted reports. Restricted report numbers will be included in the annual report. The SARC will also capture trends and perform trend analysis.
The VA maintains communications and contact with victim as needed for continued victim support.
Whichever option you choose, if any, is 100% up to you and we support your decision.
Several things to keep in mind.
A MRCC study has shown that 92% of those reporting a sexual assault are discharged.
Rape is the most difficult crime to prove. Statistics has shown that only 8% of all rapes reported end up in a trial. A trial can last anywhere from 6 months to several years. Its very painful and best if you have a support network of friends and family to help you through it. Our staff is available 24/7 for all victims. We also offer peer-support during the trial (with permission from your command.)
Still unsure if you want to report? Contact us and we’ll help you go over your options.