What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual Assault is a legal term that refers to a wide range of sexual offenses and is used to describe any sexual act or activity that that occurs without explicit consent of the victim
Forms of sexual assault include, but are not limited to:
- Attempted rape
- Fondling or unwanted sexual touching
- Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body
- Penetration of the victim’s body (also known as rape)
- Molestation/child abuse/incest
It is a common belief that sexual assault requires there to be physical force involved or that the victim must be left with visible injuries. This is not the case! The use of coercion, drugs or alcohol, threats, or manipulation to coerce sexual acts is still sexual assault!
What is Consent?
Consent is the act of agreeing to do something by choice while having both the freedom and capacity to make that choice.
It is NOT consent if you or someone else was:
- Asleep, unconscious, drunk, drugged or “on drugs”
- Pressured, manipulated, tricked or scared into saying yes
- Too young to legally provide consent
- Lacking the capacity to choose
Remember, consent can be withdrawn at any time, including during sex or a sexual act! Just because someone consented to something previously doesn’t mean they consented to it happening again.
Who Commits Sexual Assault?
There are no limitations on who can commit sexual assault. Perpetrators of sexual assault could be a stranger, or, as is true in 4 out of 5 cases, somebody already known to the victim such as a partner, ex-partner, friend, colleague, or even family member!
What is a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination?
A Sexual Assault Forensic Examination is a thorough medical examination done by a certified Forensic Nurse trained to perform the forensic medical examination for victims of sexual assault. This exam includes:
- The patient providing consent and continuing assent throughout the exam.
- The patient providing medical history and a history of the assault so the nurse is able to properly determine the medical care the patient requires.
- A head-to-toe nursing assessment, including vital signs. This includes measurements and documentation of any signs and symptoms of strangulation that the patient may have or are currently experiencing.
- The nurse, with the patient’s consent, will collect samples by swabbing areas of the body, collect clothing, and possibly urine and/or blood.
- The nurse may offer medication to prevent pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections. Testing may also be offered for these and may be done prior to medications. Education of these will be given, along with education as to why do testing first, or why do medication first.
- If the patient consents, the nurse will take photo-documentation of the patient’s condition, clothing condition, and any injuries.
- The nurse will make a determination if the patient should be referred to the ER to be seen by a physician.
- The nurse will educate the patient where to find counseling, further medical assistance if required, and other resources for safety and/or other needs. The nurse will also encourage a follow-up appointment for lab results, follow-up photo-documentation of injuries, and general check-up with the patient.
NOTE: Photographic documentation is taken using the SDFI system and stored with AES 256 Bit Encryption with Passphrase Protection. Photographs are not immediately shared with ANYONE! All photographs are considered evidence and requires a subpoena from a judge to be released to Law Enforcement or anyone else. We hold your privacy in our hands and take that seriously!