S.A.N.E. stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. These are nurses who go through specialized training to provide sexual assault medical aftercare. Their primary goal is your health and wellbeing. During an examination, if you want them to collect forensic evidence for the purposes of filing a police report, they can provide that as well.
Where can I get medical care?
If you need medical care after a sexual assault, there are Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) who have been specially trained to perform sexual assault exams. They have years of nursing experience and have undergone additional training. These exams are free of cost to you and may be done within 9 days (216 hours) after an assault. You are able to bypass the hospital if an exam is all that is needed. This speeds up the process for you and will keep you from incurring any unnecessary costs.
What happens during a sexual assault medical examination?
Every exam is different. This is based on what decisions you make about the exam and the type of sexual assault. The most common type of exam follows this order:
- Health questions-surgeries, medications, health history
- Narrative of the assault-this is your words written down by the SANE exactly as you say them
- Oral swabbing-the SANE will swab your cheeks, lips, tongue, etc. to get your DNA
- Pictures-if there are any visible injuries, the SANE will document them with a camera
- Pelvic exam-this is similar to a gynecological examination
- Medications-STI and pregnancy prevention
This entire process is completed within a few hours. The SANE will go as quickly or slowly as you are comfortable with and an advocate will be with you during the entire process.
Should I have a medical examination and evidence collection even if I am unsure about making a police report?
It is your decision and we will support whatever decision you make. You can speak with an advocate about if evidence collection is the right thing for you. It’s never a bad idea to receive medical care, especially after a sexual assault. If during your medical care you would also like evidence collection, the SANE will be able to collect that evidence during the process of her examination. If you choose to have evidence collected but wish not to report at that time, it will be stored as a “Jane Doe/Anonymous” kit and will be stored anonymously with the law enforcement jurisdiction where the assault happened. This kit will be stored for at least 5 years (in some jurisdictions, more). You may call the Rape Crisis Center or law enforcement at any time and report this crime. At that time, they will open the kit and begin the investigation.
I’ve already showered/bathed after the sexual assault. Does this mean I can’t get an exam?
No, an exam is primarily for your health care. You are still able to choose to have evidence collected after you have eaten, drank, showered, and gone to the bathroom. While it is best if you refrain from eating or showering, it is still completely possible to have evidence collected.
Should I bring the clothes that I was wearing during the assault to the exam?
Yes if you want them to be collected for evidence. If you bring your clothes, your underwear is the most important piece of clothing to bring and it’s best to put them in a paper bag (not plastic). Anything you give to the S.A.N.E. for evidence collected will most likely not be returned to you in it’s original condition. At the Rape Crisis Center, we have replacement clothing available if you are wearing clothing that will be given to law enforcement.
I’m not really sure if it was rape or I don’t remember what happened, so am I eligible for an exam?
If you feel like something just isn’t right with your body but you weren’t conscious or you don’t remember, you can still get an exam. While an exam will not tell you definitively if you were raped, it can collect any evidence that might be there and the SANE can provide medical care to see if you are injured. You can speak with an advocate who can provide information about rape and sexual assault.
I just want to be tested for STIs and nothing else. Can I do that?
We do not test for STIs, we will give you medicine to prevent them. You can choose whichever parts of the exam are right for you.