Taking care of your medical concerns is important for your health and safety. The sooner you receive medical treatment, the more options are available. Medical treatment could come in the form of a medical evidentiary examination (forensic evidence collection), testing and/or treatment for sexually transmitted infections and/or possible pregnancy, or treating other injuries. Follow-up medical care can be very important.
Medical Evidentiary Examinations (evidence collection/SANE Exams)
A medical evidentiary examination provides documentation of the assault, identification of any injury, and forensic evidence collection that can be used in a legal case (and sometimes a campus hearing). It is important for health, safety, and evidence collection to have the exam within 96 hours of a sexual assault.
OhioHealth O'Bleness Hospital has Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) and Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE) available 24 hours a day to perform these exams. A SANE/SAFE nurse is a registered nurse, specially trained in the care of someone who has been sexually assaulted. The SANE may be either male or female. If you are not located in Athens, you should call your local emergency room to inquire about the availability of a SANE exam.
You have the right for an advocate and/or another support person (family member, friend) to be with you during any or all parts of the examination. If you would like a SAP advocate to join you at OhioHealth O'Bleness Hospital, call our hotline at 740-597-SAFE (7233) or have the hospital call for you. It is your choice whether you would like an advocate to be present or not; you can ask the advocate to leave at any time during your exam. The advocate can support you through the process, help you understand your reporting options, provide you with a change of clothes or other hygiene items, and/or assist you in locating safe transportation home.
Health professionals are required by Ohio law to report a sexual assault to law enforcement. However, adult survivors can remain anonymous if they choose and will not have to speak to law enforcement or partake in any criminal action pursued by law enforcement. If the survivor does not want to report the assault, the hospital may only provide the date and general location of the assault to law enforcement without giving the patient’s name, address or other identifying information. All persons need to know that even if they are not ready to report at the time of the exam, the best way to preserve evidence should they choose to report later is to have the exam performed. SAP advocates can help survivors understand these options and assert their choices in a clear manner.
What will the Sexual Assault Exam Include?
Checking for injuries. Photographs and X-rays may be taken, if indicated.
Asking you to undress during certain parts of the examination. You will be asked to allow your clothes to be kept as part evidence collection. (SAP and/or O’Bleness can provide you with extra clothing to leave the hospital in).
Taking specimens from different areas of your body.
Offering medicine to prevent sexually transmitted infection(s).
Being screened for emergency contraception pills.
You may change your mind or choose not to have any part of the exam conducted.
Payment of Medical Evidentiary Exams
Neither you nor your insurance will be billed for the exam or for the emergency room visit.
Testing for sexually transmitted infections will not be billed to you or your insurance either.
You or your insurance may be charged for pregnancy testing and emergency contraception.
There may be charges to you or your insurance for additional medical injuries. If your health insurance does not cover this, you may be eligible for a refund through the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
For more information about the state of Ohio’s process for sexual assault forensic exams visit this page of the Ohio Attorney General.
Emergency Contraception, sometimes referred to as the “morning after pill,” is used to prevent pregnancy. It is most effective when used within 24 hours following the sexual assault. You can obtain emergency contraception at any of your local pharmacies, hospitals and Planned Parenthood. For more information on medical resources available on campus at Ohio University, visit OhioHealth Campus Care at Ohio University.
Follow-up Medical Care
If you are at risk for pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections (STI) as a result of a sexual assault, it is important to receive follow-up medical care. This includes testing for pregnancy and the testing and treatment of STIs. It is recommended that you test for STIs two to three weeks after the sexual assault occurred. If you are concerned about pregnancy, a urine pregnancy test is recommended three weeks after your assault. For a list of services available on campus at Ohio University, visit OhioHealth Campus Care at Ohio University. SAP can help you with scheduling an appointment within the appropriate timeframe.