Medical Care FAQ

The following offers a general picture of what you may expect when seeking medical care after sexual abuse, and is not to be substituted for the advice of a medical professional.

Where Do I Go for Medical Care?
Two sites in Tippecanoe County offer the forensic sexual assault exam ("rape kit"), through which evidence is collected: 
These facilities have special health care providers called S.A.N.E.s (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner). A S.A.N.E has received intensive training on evidence collection, and care for patients who have experienced trauma related to sexual assault.

Do I Have to Report Sexual Violence to the Police? 
For children under 18 years of age, the Department of Child Services must be informed of the abuse, and it is possible the police will get involved.
For adults 18 and older (except for "endangered" adults) having a forensic sexual assault examination does not require that you make a police report. 
Contacting the police is completely up to you.
During an exam at either St. Elizabeth or Purdue PUSH, the S.A.N.E nurse will ask if you want to contact the police, or if you want to wait and keep your exam results anonymous for now.
If you do not feel ready to involve the police, your evidence will be labeled with a number, rather than with your name. The evidence will then be
 sent to local law enforcement, who are required by law to keep your evidence kit for one year.
If you decide that you want to file a police report, you can provide the police with the date and location of your exam. The police will then contact the medical facility for your information.

Do I Really Need to See a Doctor?
Medical care is generally recommended for a person who has experienced sexual assault regardless of their age, gender, or the identity of the perpetrator. Seeking medical attention is important for several reasons. For instance, you may have been injured in ways that you are unaware of, that could become more serious if left untreated.
In addition, even if the sexual assault occurred several weeks or months ago, seeking medical care is important so that you can be screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and receive appropriate treatment.

What If It Was Something Other Than Rape?
Sexual assault is the term used to describe many forms of sexual abuse, including (but not limited to) anal or vaginal rape, oral penetration, use of objects, touching, etc. 
forensic sexual assault examination is meant for anyone who has experienced sexual abuse that involved physical contact.

What if I Wait Too Long?
Some people who have waited to seek medical attention may wonder if DNA evidence can be collected.
Although the likelihood of collecting DNA is highest immediately after the sexual assault, the general guideline is that DNA can be collected up to 120 hours (5 days) after the incident. However, there have been some recorded cases where DNA has been collected two weeks after a sexual assault.
Therefore, it is recommended that you seek a forensic sexual assault examination ("rape kit") if the incident happened within the previous 14 days.

If the incident happened much longer than 14 days ago, seeking medical attention to treat physical injuries and/or potential STIs is still important for your overall health.

How Much Does a Forensic Sexual Assault Examination ("rape kit") Cost?
These exams are completely free, even if you do not have insurance. If you go to the Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health Center of Hope, the cost of the exam is paid for by the Indiana Victim Compensation Division. 
The hospital will fill these forms out for you. 
At Purdue PUSH, these exams are provided for free and will not show up on any billing statement on your student account.
Funding from the Victim Compensation Fund does not require that you file a police report. All that is required is that 1) the sexual violence was committed in Indiana,
and 2) you have a forensic sexual assault examination.


Do I Need an Appointment for a Forensic Sexual Assault Exam?
Franciscan St. Elizabeth-East:
Patients are seen on a walk-in basis, 24 hours a day.
When you arrive at Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health East hospital, go to the front desk in the Emergency Room. All you need to do is tell that person that you have experienced a sexual assault and want to see a SANE nurse who works in the Center of Hope. 

From there you will be taken to the ER where a physician will examine you for other physical injuries. Once any injuries have been addressed, a S.A.N.E nurse will come to take you to the Center of Hope room. Sometimes a S.A.N.E is not immediately available, however a S.A.N.E should be able to see you within a few hours.

Purdue PUSH:
Purdue students do not need an appointment to get a forensic sexual assault examination. When you go to PUSH and ask to be seen by a S.A.N.E nurse, you can be seen within 15-20 minutes. If a S.A.N.E is not currently in the building, one will be called in, and should be able to meet you within an hour or less.

What Should I Bring With Me?
You should bring all articles of clothing that you were wearing during, and immediately after, the sexual assault. This includes socks, underwear, bra or undershirt, shirt, pants/skirt/shorts, etc.
Even if these items have been in your laundry hamper since the incident, evidence may still be collected.
If possible, you should also bring a change of clothes to wear home, since your clothing will likely need to be collected as evidence. 

How Long Does the Exam Last?
Depending on what happened to you, an exam can last between two to five hours. The first hour is generally paperwork, followed by one to four hours of medical examination & evidence collection.
While it can be hard to go through a long process after being hurt, keep in mind that the S.A.N.E wants to do their very best to help you. 

What Happens During the Exam?
Each examination can be different, depending on what happened. The S.A.N.E nurse will explain each step of the exam to you before it happens, and will ask if you would like to proceed.
You have the right to skip any part of the exam, but please keep in mind that the more thorough the exam, the better the chances are of collecting as much important evidence as possible.
When your exam begins, the S.A.N.E should ask you if you would like to have a Rape Survivor Advocate (someone for support) be with you. If you would like an advocate present during the exam, the S.A.N.E will call an advocate, and they should be able to meet you within 30-45 minutes.

The exam will start with an explanation of the paperwork you'll need to sign, in order to consent to the examination. Then the S.A.N.E nurse will ask you questions about what happened during the assault.
They will ask you very specific and personal questions that might make you uncomfortable. The purpose of these questions is to help you as much as possible, not to judge or blame you for being abused. Also, the nurses need to know the history of events, so that they can know what types of injuries to look for. 

After these questions, you will be assessed for injuries stemming from the assault. The assessment includes an internal examination of the mouth, vagina, and/or rectum (depending on the type of assault).
External and/or internal injuries may
be photographed as additional evidence of the assault.

After the injury-assessment portion, evidence is collected. Depending on what happened, swabs will be taken from different areas of your body in order to collect any bodily fluids, hair, etc., that may contain DNA of the perpetrator(s). Any clothing you were wearing at the time of the sexual assault is critical evidence and will be collected. A blood sample is also usually collected, to serve as a DNA standard for the laboratory analysis of your evidence kit. 

Will I be Given My Results After the Exam?
TV shows often show results being available that same day, but in reality, evidence can take weeks to analyze. 
Analysis of the evidence is done at an outside lab, so the S.A.N.E nurse will not be able to tell you whether they found any legal evidence of a sexual assault.
Not having an answer to the questions like, "Was I raped?", "Was I assaulted?" can be unsettling. Please keep in mind that the incident was real, and you deserve help, even if the abuse doesn't match exactly with legal terms.
Talking with an advocate, family, friends, and/or pursuing counseling may help you deal with these emotions. 

What About Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)?
After the evidence has been collected, you will be tested for HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis. Please note that this only measures if you already have any of these STIs.
You will not find out during your exam whether you contracted any STIs because of the abuse.
Depending on what happened, you may be treated for some other infections without being tested first. 

What If I Need Emergency Contraception?
Emergency Contraception (EC, "the morning-after pill") is available over-the-counter at pharmacies.

It can help prevent pregnancy up to 5 days after sexual assault.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky provides free EC to survivors of sexual assault. No appointment needed.
(765)446-8078 or (800)230-PLAN
946 Mezzanine Drive, Lafayette, IN.

Note: At St. Elizabeth, the S.A.N.E nurses will not bring up the topic of emergency contraception.
However, if you have an advocate meet you during the exam, the advocate will discuss emergency contraception options with you.