Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE)
The following information is provided by the Eisenhower Health Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Program.
What Can You Expect When You Arrive?
When you arrive at Eisenhower Medical Center's Tennity Emergency Department, you will receive a comprehensive medical assessment by one of our Emergency Department physicians. A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), who has specialized forensic training, education and clinical preparation in treating sexual assault victims, will arrive to conduct a comprehensive forensic evidentiary examination. In addition to the forensic examination, you will be provided the following medical services:
- Sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy prophylaxis;
- HIV testing and, if applicable, post-exposure prophylaxis;
- A Rape Crisis Center advocate to support you during the forensic exam; and
- Community referrals, as appropriate
The primary mission of Eisenhower Medical Center Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Team is to meet the needs of the sexual assault victim by providing an immediate, compassionate, and culturally sensitive, comprehensive medical and forensic evaluation by trained, professional nurse experts within the parameters of the California State Nurse Practice Act and agency policies.
Forensic Nursing Commitment
The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner will provide the sexual assault victim with information to ensure that he/she receives the support needed upon discharge from Eisenhower Medical Center's SAFE facility. In most cases, the SANE will make referrals to appropriate legal advocacy agencies, a pharmacy, and a primary care physician, gynecologist or infectious disease specialist.
California has mandatory reporting laws for felony crimes or child abuse. The SANE will follow established laws and protocols for reporting.
What Is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is defined as the sexual exploitation, forcible penetration, or act of sexual contact on the body of another person, male or female, without his or her consent. Sexual assault is an act of power and control over such a person and/or against a person who does not or cannot give consent due to alcohol, drugs or some sort of incapacitation.
There are many forms of rape:
- stranger rape
- acquaintance rape
- drug-facilitated rape
- spousal rape
- multiple assailant/gang rape
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five women has been raped in her lifetime, with an estimated 80 percent of those experiencing their first rape by age 25.
- One in 71 men has been a victim of sexual assault.
- More than 50 percent of sexual assault cases go unreported.
- In the United States, a sexual assault occurs every two minutes.
- Victims under age 18 account for 44 percent.
- More than half of all rapes happen in the victim's or a friend's home.
Who Is At Risk?
Sexual violence can happen to anyone regardless of gender, race, age, socioeconomic status or religion. Sexual violence can occur at any time and be perpetrated by anybody. A person is more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone known to them - a friend, date, classmate, neighbor, relative, co-worker - than by a stranger in a dark alley. Approximately 80 percent of all sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the person.
What Should I Do If I Become a Victim of Sexual Assault?
In the unfortunate event that you become a victim of sexual assault, it is important that you get to a safe place, such as:
- Your home, unless the perpetrator is there (spouse, boyfriend, etc.)
- A friend's, neighbor's or family member's home
Once you are in a safe place, seek medical attention or call 911 to report the crime.
Eisenhower Health's Tennity Emergency Department is the dedicated SAFE facility for east Riverside County and the Marine Corps Base at Twenty-nine Palms. A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Preservation of Evidence
As a victim of sexual assault, your body is considered a crime scene. Valuable evidence may be present on your clothing and body. Timelines for evidence collection are currently 120 hours, late reporting can significantly decrease your chances of a successful investigation.
The following are steps you should take to preserve evidence:
- Do not change your clothes.
- Do not shower or take a bath.
- Do not urinate.
- Do not eat, drink or smoke.
- Do not brush your teeth or rinse your mouth.
If you change your clothing, place clothing worn at the time of the assault, including undergarments, in a paper bag (if available). Use caution not to disturb any potential evidence that may be on the clothing (hair, grass, etc) and bring them with you to the hospital or give them to the responding law enforcement officer.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), www.rainn.org
- U.S. Department of Justice National Crime Victimization Survey