- If my Assault happened within the last 96 hours, what will they do at the hospital?
First, emergency room staff may ask you a few questions about why you are visiting the ER to determine what kind of injuries you may have and whether you want a forensic exam performed. Any physical injuries will be treated in the ER before a forensic exam is started. Sexual assault survivors enter through the emergency room but have a separate waiting area and exam room. A survivor may bring a friend or family to the hospital for support.
A forensic exam (sometimes referred to as a “rape kit” or “rape exam”) is a careful procedure performed by a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE nurse) that has the potential to collect DNA and other evidence in a way that may be used in court if you choose to prosecute.
If you decide to have a forensic exam (and it’s completely up to you), the SANE nurse or other medical professional will be called to perform the exam. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are specifically trained to collect evidence, check for injuries, and deal with the possibility of pregnancy and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases. A Crisis Center of Southeast Texas Advocate will also be present to offer emotional support and discuss resources. Remember, you have the right to refuse any medical treatment, including the forensic exam, when you go to the hospital.
Also keep in mind that, if the assault occurred weeks or months before, medical attention is still important. We encourage you to see your general practitioner or other medical professional for a wellness check, pregnancy tests, testing for sexually transmitted infections and HIV, or anything else you may need.