Police also say it's important for victims to report sexual assaults as soon as possible – but that doesn’t necessarily mean going to law enforcement.
“Sex assault victims can get a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examination) done at a hospital without filing a police report. (They) can file a report later if they choose. Evidence will be preserved. (It’s) very difficult to preserve evidence after 96 hours,” said Detective Wesley Ross, SAPD.
He said that evidence can be held up to two years to allow the victim to decide if she/he wants to pursue criminal action against the suspect.
By their nature alone, sexual assault investigations are often difficult for the victims who may have to have a physical exam and describe intimate details of the incident.
In some cases, detectives find themselves setting the record straight before they begin investigating the possible crimes. We asked the San Antonio Police Department’s Special Victims Unit (which handles sexually-related crimes) for information victims need to know.
MYTH: If a victim of sexual assault does not fight back, they must have thought the assault was not that bad or they wanted it.
FACT: "This myth is inaccurate. Many survivors of sexual assault become overwhelmed with fear that they are physically and psychologically incapable of resisting." – Sergeant Jesse Izaguirre, SAPD
A lot of victims lie about being raped or give false reports.
FACT: "Many victims have a difficult time recalling the assault because of the trauma that is associated with it. It is like trying to remember a nightmare, you know you were in a nightmare but can't remember how it began or any details that accompanied it." – Izaguirre
A person cannot sexually assault their partner or spouse.
FACT: "This myth is dangerous and false. A relationship is built on a foundation of trust and love. Attempting to exert power or control to violate or destroy that trust by an act of sexual assault destroys the bond in the relationship." – Izaguirre
Wearing revealing clothing, behaving provocatively, or drinking a lot means the victim was “asking for it.”
FACT: "A person's attire is not an invitation or implied consent to any type of sexual activity. People's attire or sense of fashion is that particular person's unique choice. In no way is it meant to be considered "asking for it.” – Izaguirre