FAQ

Do you provide services outside of the Chicago area?

RVA’s services are specifically provided in Chicago.  To find your nearest rape crisis center, you can go to www.rainn.org.

What hospitals does RVA provide 24-hour crisis response to?

Community First Medical Center (formerly Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center)

John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County

Methodist Hospital of Chicago

Mount Sinai Hospital

Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Provident Hospital of Cook County

Rush University Medical Center

Saint Joseph Hospital

Saint Mary of Nazareth Medical Center

Swedish Covenant Hospital

Thorek Hospital

University of Illinois Hospital (UIC)

Weiss Memorial Hospital

West Suburban Medical Center

Will RVA respond to any hospital in Chicago?

RVA specifically provides 24-hour crisis response to our 14 partner hospitals.  Two other sister organizations provide crisis response to additional hospitals, but it’s important to note that a large number of hospitals in Chicago do NOT have a relationship with a local rape crisis program.  You can call the Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline at 1- 888-293-2080 to find out what hospital nearest to you is partnered with a rape crisis program.

Do you charge for services?

Our services are free to survivors and their loved ones.  If you are seeking a professional training from RVA, we’re happy to work with you to ensure that the budget and content fit your needs.

Are your services just for women?

No, we serve all survivors regardless of gender identity.

How do I know if counseling is right for me?

Many survivors have found that counseling can be a helpful in different ways, depending on where they were in their healing process. RVA also has art therapists on staff, who utilize the creative arts as a way to heal.  The best way to tell if counseling at RVA is right for you is to come in to meet with a counselor so that you can talk about what you need and want from counseling.

Can I get services at RVA if I was assaulted as a child?

Yes. Many survivors who come to RVA experienced sexual violence when they were children.

How many people do you serve?

RVA provides crisis, advocacy and counseling services to over 1800 survivors and their loved ones annually.

Are services confidential?

All services at Rape Victim Advocates are confidential.  RVA follows mandated reporting laws, which require us to make reports to the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services about suspected cases of child abuse or neglect, and the abuse or neglect of a disabled adult or elderly person.  Clients of any age should be aware that we are also required to make reports if they disclose the intent to harm themselves or someone else.

How can I help a friend who has been sexually assaulted?

When someone is raped it affects not only the survivor, but also all of the people around them. Part of what makes it so difficult is not knowing what to say or do. Here are some tips:

Let them know that you believe them

All too often, disclosure is met by skepticism or outright disbelief. Simply letting a survivor know that you believe them and that you stand behind them is a great help. Remember that although you may be having a strong reaction to what happened, it’s important that the focus be on the feelings and reactions of the survivor rather than your own.  You can seek support for your own feelings separately from supporting the survivor.

Allow the survivor to make their own decisions

This point can be very difficult, it can be very tempting to “take over” for a while in an attempt to help the survivor deal with the rape. It is important to remember that because of the assault, the survivor felt a loss of control and reestablishing that control is very important. Try to defer to a survivor’s decisions, even if they decide to let you make some decisions. Then at least that was their choice and not yours. If a survivor wants to talk, try to be an open listener. If they prefer not to talk about the assault, then try to be supportive in other ways, letting them know that you care about them and are willing to listen at a later time if so desired.

Educate yourself about the myths of rape

A great deal of harm is done, often unintentionally, to survivors because the people around them believe the myths that surround rape. Rape is never the fault of the survivor, but rather the fault of the rapist. Although this sounds like a simple, even obvious, fact, much of the misinformation that exists points to the victim as being responsible for the rape. To be truly supportive, one must believe the survivor while disbelieving and challenging the myths that surround rape.

Be ready to listen

Sometimes it’s very useful to simply be with a person and create a safe silence if need be. Non-judgmental support helps survivors tremendously as they recover from this traumatic event. If he/she indicates that they might want to seek professional help, or if you feel completely out of your depth, they (and you) are welcome to call the 24-hour Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline at 1-888-293-2080.