Regardless of whether you choose to file a report with the police or a complaint with the University, it is important that you obtain medical treatment following an assault. Medical attention is not just for support in filing a complaint, it is to make sure that you are medically cared for following a trauma to your body. As soon as possible after a sexual assault, a rape evidence exam may be conducted to collect evidence for criminal prosecution. You can also have the exam completed and make a decision at a later time if you want to file a police report. Having the exam completed gives you more options for responding to the assault. This SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Exam) Exam can only be performed at a hospital emergency room. The cost of this exam is covered by the State of Wisconsin, therefore any insurance you have is not billed. Locally, this exam can be performed at:
- Aurora Medical Center | 855 North Westhaven Drive, Oshkosh
- Mercy Medical Center | 500 South Oakwood Road, Oshkosh
If you do not want to go to the local hospital and you are currently enrolled at UWO, you may receive services at the Student Health Center on campus. SANE services are not available at the Student Health Center, however, you could receive emergency contraceptives and discuss options for STI treatment.
What to Expect at the Hospital Emergency Room
It is very important that a victim of sexual assault receives attention for your physical well-being. If there is any chance that a complaint will be filed, it is very helpful to have a medical exam. If you decide to go to the hospital for an exam, there are some things that might be helpful for you to know.
- An advocate will be at the hospital to help you navigate the medical process and you may request that someone close to you be present.
- For women, a pelvic exam will be conducted with your permission.
- You will be checked for injuries and can be tested/treated for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.
- Follow up care and treatment is important because you may not know that you have a STI until several weeks or months after it has been transmitted. Follow up testing for STIs is recommended six to eight weeks following an assault. Pregnancy cannot be determined until two to three weeks after the assault.
- Discuss your concerns about pregnancy and STIs with the SANE Nurse. He or she may give you emergency contraceptive pills at the time of the exam. You should receive information on any medication given to you. Make sure you know the name, dosage, purpose and possible side effects of any medication you receive.
- Some perpetrators may use drugs to physically control their victims and render them defenseless. If you believe that you were drugged, inform your SANE Nurse. Blood or urine tests may detect the presence of drugs in your system; however, testing should be done as soon as possible because some drugs can only be detected within six to eight hours after entering your system.
- With your permission, the SANE Nurse will complete a rape evidence kit and also collect other physical evidence of rape (samples of body fluids, hair, fingernail scrapings) to be turned over to police. Even though evidence is collected, it does not mean you have to report.