If you’re a victim of sexual assault or abuse, it is important to seek medical care immediately, after the incident. By seeking medical care you are not required to report the assault, but will have evidence collected that could be useful later, as well as receive information about follow up care and resources within the community.
In Erie, two hospitals provide Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Exams: UPMC Hamot and Saint Vincent Hospital.
SANE Exams are provided free of charge. When you arrive at the hospital, you will speak to a doctor or nurse. Provide as much detail about the incident as possible so they can determine the proper treatment.
Your care team will treat any immediate injuries. With your permission, they will perform an exam that includes:
- Documentation of any injuries, cuts, or bruises from the assault.
- Testing and treatment to prevent infection.
- Collection of samples, such as fingernail and saliva swabbing as part of an evidence kit.
A nurse may ask to photograph your injuries for evidence. If you feel uncomfortable at any point during the examination, let your nurse or doctor know. You may wish to have someone with you for support during the process, and you have the right to decline any part of the exam.
Be sure to follow your discharge instructions, including getting further treatment or following up with your primary care doctor.
You may also want to consider seeing a counselor or therapist, as many people experience emotional trauma from sexual assault.