SEXUAL ASSAULT EXAM
The Sexual Assault Exam can be unnerving for most people. It’s scary if you don’t know what to expect. First of all, a sexual assault exam is completely in your control. Nothing will happen without your explicit and informed consent. An advocate will be with you the entire way-before, during, and after the exam to provide you with information and support so that you’re not alone through this process. The Rape Crisis Center is built around providing you with the best sexual assault aftercare. It’s a confidential and private facility made specifically for providing you with sexual assault services. You can call for a sexual assault exam 24/7 at (405) 701-5550.
How long do I have to get an exam?
The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners will provide you with an exam up to 9 days after a sexual assault. The sooner you receive medical care, the better as some of the medications can’t be given after a certain amount of time. The human body is made to try to heal itself quickly and if you want any injuries documented, it’s best to have them documented sooner. You can call the Rape Crisis Center (701-5660) 24/7 to request an exam. We will get you into the RCC for the earliest appointment available.
What happens during a sexual assault medical examination?
The short answer is: whatever you are comfortable with. Many people fear that the exam is an ‘all-or-nothing’ procedure and that’s not the case. It will be based on 2 factors: 1. what is needed due to what happened during the assault and 2. what you consent to.
A standard sexual assault exam consists of paperwork first. The paperwork is designed so that the SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) does no further harm to you and so that they know what needs to be examined. They won’t do anything that is unnecessary. After you fill out a few forms, the SANE will ask you for a detailed account of what happened in your own words. Next the SANE will swab your mouth with a q-tip. After that, she will ask you to change into a hospital gown in order to do a pelvic exam. This can include using a colposcope-this is a microscope connected to a camera so that she can take pictures of internal injuries that are not normally seen by the naked eye. *These photos are not seen by anyone else without your explicit consent. The SANE will ask for your consent at the examination and then before she releases them to law enforcement.* After the pelvic exam, the SANE will check you from head-to-toe for any injuries that might need to be documented, photographed, or cared for. The final part of the exam is STI/STD medications and emergency contraception. This entire process can take anywhere from an hour to several hours. An advocate will be with you the entire time to talk you through the process and to provide you with support.
Should I have a medical examination and evidence collection even if I am unsure about making a police report?
It’s never a bad idea to receive medical care after a sexual assault. If you also choose to have evidence collected during this process, the advocate can talk to you about reporting to law enforcement or having the evidence stored until you are ready to report. Many people choose to have evidence collected right away and then take a few days to think about what they want to do next.
Can I get tested for rape drugs during the exam?
The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner will not test any evidence. She will only collect any potential evidence. She can collect blood or urine if you think that someone has given you a drug. That will be given to law enforcement for them to send off for testing. You can’t have blood or urine tested without reporting to law enforcement. If you don’t want to report but still want to have your blood or urine tested, then talk to your advocate about where that can be done.
Do I have to go to the hospital?
Unless you have serious injuries or the perpetrator used something around your neck (choked/strangled) then you can bypass the hospital and come straight to the Rape Crisis Center. If you are having trouble breathing, even up to 2 weeks after the assault, that could be a sign of strangulation and you need to go to the Emergency Room right away.
Where can I get medical care?
You can receive medical care at the Rape Crisis Center. The sexual assault exam is free to you and can also provide evidence collection if you want it.
What happens to the sexual assault kit when it's finished?
The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner will give it to the law enforcement jurisdiction where the assault happened. If you are choosing to report, then they will be given your name and will open the kit to start an investigation. If you are choosing not to report, your kit will have a confidential number on it and will not have anything identifying about you on it. It will be stored unopened.