Some medical concerns may not be immediately apparent, such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), internal injuries, and pregnancy. Even if you do not wish to have a doctor or nurse collect evidence for an investigation, please obtain a medical exam to protect yourself as soon as possible from further physical harm. Some medications, such as the the morning after pill for pregnancy and antibiotics for STDs are most effective when administered as soon as possible. Medical care may also preserve evidence of the assault, should you wish to pursue criminal charges immediately or in the future.
- Get to a safe place.
- Tell someone you trust.
- Get medical attention. Even if you do not want to report the incident, you may have injuries of which you are not aware.
- Avoid showering, bathing, douching, eating, drinking, brushing your teeth, or smoking if at all possible. These activities can destroy vital evidence.
- Clothing worn during or after the assault should be saved in a paper bag or pillow case, to best preserve evidence.
- You can call UNCG Police 24 hours a day at 336-334-4444 for immediate assistance.
- You can contact UNCG’s community partner, Family Service of the Piedmont for confidential, crisis support 24 hours a day at 336.273.7273.
- It’s important to remember the UNCG’s Student Health Services does NOT provide forensic examinations. If you plan to press charges, you MUST obtain a forensic exam (“Rape Kit”) from a local Emergency Room. Family Service of the Piedmont’s crisis line can refer you, or you can present yourself to any hospital Emergency Room in Greensboro.
You may go to any Emergency Room in the area and request to be examined and treated for sexual assault. You have three choices regarding how you would like to proceed:
1. You can just be examined, treated, and given referrals for counseling and medical follow up either at a local Emergency Rom or your campus clinic.
2. You can have an anonymous Sexual Assault Examination performed that can preserve evidence for one year to give you time to decide if you want to go forth with prosecution or not. This does not require you to report to police. The highly trained Sexual Assault Nurse Practitioner (SANE) will walk you through your options.
3. You can report the assault to UNCG Police and/or Greensboro Police. The case would be investigated by the police. You would do a Sexual Assault Examination and Kit that would be collected by a SANE nurse which is handed over to the police and eventually used in litigation of the case.
A Sexual Assault Kit is collected with the ultimate goal of preserving evidence and chain of custody for future court proceedings. It is an invasive and intensive type of exam and should not be undertaken lightly. Just because someone has been sexually assaulted does not mean that they have to have a kit done. It is your choice and you are in control.
What happens during a sexual assault examination?
You can have a support person of your choice, such as a sexual assault victim advocate, a friend, or a family member, accompany you throughout the examination if you choose. It is also important to note that this medical exam may take a number of hours to complete.
The SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) will usually begin by asking questions about your general health. If you are female, you will be asked about your menstrual history and your use of contraception. You will also be asked specific questions about the assault. It may be difficult to recall some of the details, and it may be emotionally painful to remember and talk about what happened. Medical personnel ask specific questions to find out what to look for when they examine you. The information you give will help your medical provider conduct a thorough physical examination. For female victims, this usually includes a pelvic examination.
The SANE will then look for injuries and other signs that force was used, such as tender areas, marks on your skin, and bruises. Although many sexual assault victims do not sustain physical injuries, it is still important to have an examination conducted by a health care provider. If you do have visible injuries, you may be asked to give your consent to have photographs taken of the injured areas. Photographing injuries is important, because by the time your assailant is prosecuted in a court trial (if you choose to report), the injuries may have healed.
In addition to checking you for injuries, the SANE can look for other evidence of a sexual assault. Depending on the type(s) of sexual contact that occurred, the search for physical evidence may include taking samples from your vagina, mouth, and/or rectum. Other evidence may be obtained from fingernail scrapings, foreign matter on your body, and the clothes you were wearing at the time of assault. It is important to bring a change of clothing with you to the hospital as the clothing worn during an assault may be collected as evidence. You will also be offered medications in order to prevent any resulting medical conditions or sexually transmitted diseases.
After the examination is complete, the findings will be documented in a medical record (more commonly know as the Rape Kit). The medical record can later be subpoenaed if you are participating in a criminal prosecution or a civil lawsuit related to the sexual assault.