Watauga Medical Center
There are many places to get medical care after a sexual assault. A hospital emergency department is often the first choice if the sexual assault has recently occurred. The Watauga Medical Center is Boone's local hospital and emergency department and provides emergency medical care as well as STI testing, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing, preservation of any evidence, and Sexual Assault Forensic Exams upon request.
Sexual Assault Forensic Exam
If you want evidence collected for a possible prosecution, you should request to have a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam completed. If you are unsure about reporting the crime to police, indicate to the emergency department staff that you would like for the evidence from the exam to be stored to give you time to make this decision. This is often referred to as anonymous or blind reporting.
Note: If you complete the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam, it does not mean you must file a report with police.
- The Sexual Assault Forensic Exam is a physical exam of your body. Samples are collected as evidence. Sometimes, photos are taken.
- The exam for victims includes a medical history, information about the assault, and samples of bodily fluids (e.g. blood, saliva, urine) and pubic hair.
- You have the right to refuse any part of the medical exam and/or the collection of evidence. If you might want your assault investigated for a possible prosecution, the sooner evidence is collected, the better for the case.
- The entire exam with documentation can last 2-4 hours.
- You may be given medication and instructions for follow up.
Why should you consider having a sexual assault forensic exam?
- It won't cost you. The Violence Against Women Act requires states to provide sexual assault forensic exams free of charge.
- You don't have to file a report. The decision to file a report with Police is yours. Completing the exam allows you to collect evidence in case later down the road, you decide reporting is something you'd like to do.
- It increases the likelihood of prosecution. The importance of DNA evidence in sexual assault cases are important. Not only does DNA carry weight in court, but the perpetrator's DNA may be added to the national database, making it easier to connect the perpetrator to a future crime.
- Your health matters. Sexual assault can impact your physical, emotional and mental well being. You may have injuries and trauma related to the assualt that aren't immediately visible.
Info from: rainn.org
To request a medical advocate (someone who will assist you in understanding your medical options) please call OASIS.