Does sexual assault happen in your small town?

Our SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) Team

By Christine White RN, KCH Emergency Department

Does sexual assault happen in your small town?

Yes it does! April is sexual assault awareness month, a time to discuss a difficult topic. Most people would be very surprised to know that it does happen in their own town, and maybe surprised to learn what it is. To put it very simply, it is any sexual act that is done without someone’s permission. It can range from inappropriate touching to rape. It can be a violent act and happens to people of all ages, genders and socioeconomic status. No one should ever be violated in this way.

We here at Knox Community Hospital want you to know that you are not alone. Your community hospital has specially trained forensic nurses that are on call 24/7. We are committed to helping you become a survivor. Our Forensic Nurses are trained to recognize trauma that comes with sexual assault, domestic violence, strangulation, and human trafficking. We are trained to collect evidence, DNA, and drug facilitated sexual assault kits. We collaborate with many local resources to aid in your healing process. One of those resources is your local rape crisis center, New Directions. Like us, they are on call 24/7. The Ohio Attorney General’s office also has assistance programs for survivors.  We will make sure you have all of these resources before you leave the hospital.

Did you know that alcohol is the number one date rape drug?

Did you know that the majority of sexual assaults are done by someone you know? This could be a friend or even a family member. It sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Why would someone that you thought was your friend, or even worse, a family member, do something so horrible to you?

What if this happens to you?

First and foremost get to a safe place as soon as possible. Seek medical attention. Evidence can be collected up to 72 hours after the assault for adolescents and adults. In some special circumstances, this time frame can be extended. Getting to the emergency room within those 3 days will increase the chance of finding evidence and DNA. If you change clothes, please keep the original clothes worn during or right after the assault in a paper bag, and bring them with you to the hospital. This will help preserve the evidence.  If you are unable to get to the hospital within that time period, we will still do everything we can to assist you with treatment. It is never too late to start the healing process. Please understand that it is not your fault. No means no! If you are unable to consent for any reason, the answer is still no. No matter what you wear or what your life choices are, you are still a person and no one deserves to be sexually assaulted.

We are dedicated to our community and want you to know that we will help you through this.

Photo (L-R) Audra Cubie,RN; Christine White, RN and Hannah Chester, RN (KCH Emergency Department)