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After a sexual assault, it's normal to feel angry, afraid, and even ashamed. Please don’t let these feelings keep you from getting medical care. It’s important to remember that even if you do not have injuries, medical care can help you heal physically and emotionally.

What is Sexual Assault?

The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without your explicit consent. Some forms of sexual assault include:

  • Attempted rape
  • Fondling or unwanted sexual touching
  • Forcing a person to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the offender’s body
  • Penetration of a person’s body, also known as rape

If you, or someone you know, is a victim of sexual assault, we can help with the care and resources you need.

What is a SANE?

SANE stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. A SANE is a registered nurse with specialized training to care for patients who have been sexually assaulted. To become a SANE, nurses must complete training to learn how to care for patients who have been assaulted.

What is a SANE Exam?

SANE exams depend on the needs of the patient. A SANE exam starts with speaking to the patient about what happened, which then determines the rest of the exam. Your exam may include medical care, pictures of injuries, collecting evidence and after care.

Services Provided

If you have been assaulted, visit an Atrium Health Emergency Department and ask to see a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.

Please note, not all Atrium Health facilities have SANEs available 24/7.

Here are the services we offer:

  • Pregnancy testing and prevention
  • STI (sexually transmitted infections) testing and prevention
  • HIV testing and prevention
  • Vaccinations
  • Physical exam
  • Evidence collection

To find a SANE near you, call your local Emergency Department and ask if they have a SANE available.

What to Expect in the Emergency Department

You will be seen by a medical provider in the emergency department. You will be asked about injuries you have and the assault. These questions may feel invasive, but they will help us care for you. A friend or advocate can support you. You may have an exam by a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) or another medical provider. A SANE is a nurse who has been specially trained to care for someone who has been sexually assaulted. You may choose to have a SANE exam to collect evidence. You may be offered care to prevent STIs, HIV and pregnancy and treat any injuries you have.

Reporting Options

Your care team at Atrium Health is here to help you every step of way. That includes telling you about your reporting options. In many situations adults may choose to report to police or not. Your health care team can explain these options to you.

Please note: If a patient is under 18 years old (or was under 18 years old when the assault happened), we must make a report to the police and possibly Department of Social Services (DSS). NC law states that health care workers must report crimes against children to police and DSS.

Sexually Transmitted Infection and Pregnancy Prevention

  1.      Sexually transmitted infections (STI): Sexual assault can put you at risk for STIs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and trichomonas. You may choose to take medicine to help prevent some of these diseases.
  2.      HIV: You have a slight risk of getting HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) from a sexual assault. You have the option to take medicine to help keep you from getting the virus.
  3.      Pregnancy: You may choose to take a medicine to help prevent pregnancy.
  4. Your health care team can explain these options to you.

Follow-Up Care

Visit your doctor or health department 1 to 2 weeks after the assault. You may need to have more tests, like sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy and HIV. You can find any test results from your emergency room visit in your MyAtriumHealth chart.

It is important to care for your emotional and mental health after a sexual assault. Visiting a counselor or psychologist can help. You may also find additional help through the resources below.

Where to Find Help

Here are some other places to get help:

Other Resources

Learn More