Despite its severity, sexual assault is one of the most under-reported crimes. According to a Justice Department analysis of violent crime in 2016, nearly 80 percent of rapes and sexual assaults go unreported. Many survivors fear retaliation, believe the police will not do anything, or believe the crime was not important enough to report.
Steps to take:
- Ensure You Are in a Safe Place
- If Injured, Go to a Hospital
- Report to Police
- Report to Uber or Lyft
- Take Notes
- Consult a Lawyer
1. Ensure You Are in a Safe Place
Ensure you are secure and in a safe place. If possible, call a friend or family member and stay on the phone with them until you are safe.
If you can get home, make sure that all points of entry are locked and secured. If you are in a public space, ensure that you are not alone and reach out to someone (a store employee, a passerby, etc.).
2. If Injured, Go to a Hospital
If you are injured, immediately go the hospital. If a friend or family member is not available to take you to the hospital, you can contact the police and they can arrange transportation. Receiving medical treatment as soon as possible is of the utmost importance. Medical providers can offer a physical exam or kit to identify injuries and preserve evidence, provide emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy, and administer sexually transmitted infection (“STI”) testing.
3. Report to Police
Once you are in a safe place and have received the appropriate medical treatment, report the crime to the police. Depending on the procedures used in your area, you may be required to go to the police department and file an official report, or an officer may meet you at a safe location.
During the interview, you can have a friend, family member, or other support advocate by your side. Filing a report does not mean you have to proceed with a criminal suit; you can file an incident report without prosecution. Request copies of all reports the police are willing to provide you, which should at least include your initial incident report.
4. Report to Uber (or Lyft)
Report the driver to the rideshare company. After receiving a complaint, rideshare companies should investigate the crime and suspend the perpetrator’s account, rendering them unable to terrorize other passengers.
Be sure to document any communications you have with the rideshare company regarding the incident and assailant.
Hiring an attorney can allow the attorney to work on your behalf with the rideshare company to confirm the driver was removed.
5. Take Notes
Take detailed notes of the incident. As difficult as it is to relive the experience, it is important to write down all the details you can remember about the car, driver, and what was said and done. Having a detailed record of the incident is helpful in aiding the investigation against the driver.
Taking screenshots of the ride in the application and the driver’s profile plays a role in confirming the driver’s identity as well.
If possible request copies of any medical or therapy records related to the incident. Records are a useful tool in corroborating and assessing damages and effects of the incident, to help hold rideshare companies and perpetrators accountable.
6. Consult a Lawyer
Consult with an attorney. If you were sexually assaulted by a rideshare Uber driver, you may have a claim.
Levin Simes Abrams is a majority female managed and staffed law firm. We have significant experience representing survivors of sexual assault. We are sensitive to the significant emotional trauma and the long, difficult healing process associated with experiencing a sexual assault.
We will handle all communications with Uber, keeping you informed and answering questions every step of the way. We try to keep the process as easy as possible, so survivors can spend their energy on healing.
If you have any questions, please contact us to ask.