Where does a survivor of a sexual assault go for information, assistance and support?
Possible “first responders” that a victim can contact include the local rape crisis center, law enforcement, or emergency room at a local hospital. If a sexual assault victim goes to the emergency room or contacts the police she/he has the right to ask for a specially trained sexual assault victim advocate to accompany and support her/him through the medical and/or legal process.
Sexual violence is a sex act completed or attempted against a victim’s will or when a victim is unable to consent due to age, illness, disability, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs. It may involve actual or threatened physical force, use of guns or other weapons, coercion, intimidation, or pressure.
Sexual violence also includes intentional touching of the genitals, anus, groin, or breast against a victim’s will or when a victim is unable to consent; and voyeurism, exposure to exhibitionism, or undesired exposure to pornography. The perpetrator of sexual violence may be a stranger, friend, family member, or intimate partner.
(From CDC, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control)
A person commits rape if he or she engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with another person:
(1) By forcible compulsion; or
(2) Who is incapable of consent because he or she is physically helpless, mentally defective, or mentally incapacitated; or
(3) Who is less than fourteen (14) years of age; or
(4) Who is less than eighteen (18) years of age and the actor is the victim’s guardian, uncle, aunt, grandparent, step-grandparent, or grandparent by adoption, brother or sister of the whole or half blood or by adoption, or nephew, niece, or first cousin.
It is no defense to a prosecution under subdivisions (3) or (4) that the victim consented to the conduct.
Rape is a Class Y felony.
For all Class Y felonies, six years. However, for rape, “the period of limitation may be extended to fifteen years during which extended time a prosecution for rape may be commenced if based upon forensic DNA testing or another test that may become available through an advance in technology.”
A victim of sexual assault is not required to participate in the criminal justice system or to cooperate with law enforcement in order to be provided with a forensic medical exam or reimbursement for charges incurred on account of a forensic medical exam, or both.
Evidence will be collected only with the permission of the victim. However, permission shall not be required when the victim is unconscious, mentally incapable of consent, or intoxicated.
To be exempt from paying the expense incurred as a result of receiving a medical examination, the victim must receive the exam within seventy-two hours of the attack. However, the 72 hours time limitation may be waived if the victim is a minor or if the Crime Victims Reparations Board finds that good cause exists for the failure to provide the exam within the required time.
Seeking medical care after a sexual assault goes beyond documenting and treating possible external and internal injuries. The survivor also receives information about Sexually Transmitted Infections, options for HIV testing of self or attacker, and information on emergency contraception and the need for possible follow-up care.
The use of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) to do the forensic examination and collection of evidence is encouraged as an alternative to a physician. SANEs are registered nurses who have completed special training in the forensic examination procedures and issues surrounding sexual assault.
EC prevents ovulation, fertilization or possibly implantation. It does not cause an abortion or in any way affect an already established pregnancy. It is an FDA approved measure that has existed for over 25 years.