RAPE is More than a Four Letter Word
|Beebe Medical Center, a longstanding contributor to the Sussex County Community, has begun a S.A.N.E. program in conjunction with other hospitals within the state of Delaware to document forensic evidence of sexual assault when victims seek help within the medical and legal community. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program, also known as S.A.N.E., was established to provide an objective, comprehensive, evidence collection exam, working directly with law enforcement and victim advocacy, (Contact Delaware), for the purpose of successful prosecution and conviction of the perpetrator. In fact, conviction rates rise from 40% to 90% when the examination is performed by a S.A.N.E. nurse.
When an incident of sexual assault is made known to the Emergency Department of Beebe Medical Center, a team of highly trained, skilled and committed individuals is mobilized to respond to the need of the adult victim. This sexual assault response team (S.A.R.T.) consists of a registered nurse (S.A.N.E.), who has completed specialized training in the collection of forensic evidence, and has skills in treating the emotional needs of the sexual assault victim, a rape crisis volunteer, who has been specially trained as a support person for the survivor throughout the medical-legal process, and a law enforcement officer, who is a detective specially trained in the area of sexual assault investigations.
The S.A.N.E. nurse acts as a forensic expert, gathering evidence in the form of clothing, body fluids, pictures and anything else that corroborates that a sexual assault has occurred. This evidence is collected and sealed in a kit and delivered to the police criminal lab for DNA analysis and testing. The exam itself generally takes between 2-4 hours to complete, and must occur within 72 hours from the time of the sexual assault.
"So," you may ask yourself, "How does this affect me? This could never happen to me. I've never even known anyone who has been raped." Yet, in all likelihood, you do, several times over. One in every 4 women will be sexually assaulted by the time she is 18. One in every 7 men will be sexually assaulted by age 16. Approximately 80% of reported rapes,
(2 out of every 3 are generally never reported to police), are committed by someone known to the victim, with 58% of these victims being less than age 12. The definition of rape is "any intimate contact without consent." This included forced contact between husband and wife, sexual contact with anyone under the age of consent, which is 18, anyone with impaired judgment, whether they be mentally challenged or of diminished capacity due to intoxication. Sex with them is rape.
If you or someone you know has been raped, get to a safe place and contact 9-1-1. It is important for your physical and mental health to get help quickly. Do not eat, drink, bathe, shower or change clothing until you have been examined. "Contact Delaware" can be accessed 24 hours a day at 1-800-262-9800 or 302-422-2078 to assist with rape crisis management. Reporting an assault and regaining control of your life through prompt attention are important steps in healing.
Take the first step, and we'll join you along the way.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 9, No. 14, Oct. 15, 1999