If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted get to a safe place and call 911 immediately. Reach out to someone you trust for help and support. Do not bathe, shower, wash your hands, brush your teeth, change clothes, smoke, drink or use the restroom if at all possible. Remember, you are not to blame and you are not alone. Break the silence by calling us at 260-423-2222. When YOU SPEAK...WE LISTEN. We listen and offer choices for healthcare needs, reporting options, and resources to begin a journey of healing. A forensic nurse is available to make a difference 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at no cost to the patient.
Often times, a victim’s only choice during sexual assault is to just survive. At the SATC, we respect Victim’s Rights, including the right to choose care. If you choose care at the SATC, upon arrival to our secured facility, you will be greeted by your Forensic Nurse Examiner and other members of the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) if activated. You and your support (family members and/or friends are welcome and encouraged to accompany you) will be escorted to a private, comfortable and relaxing waiting area where your options will be discussed. If you choose a medical forensic examination, our priority is upholding your dignity and respect. Our examination rooms are designed to maintain the highest level of integrity for conducting the medical forensic examination and evidence collection while providing privacy and safety. Your Forensic Nurse Examiner will explain every step along the way. The medical forensic examination includes;
- Patient history
- Physical assessment, including injury identification
- Evidence collection
- Assessment and medication to prevent sexually transmitted infections
- Information and treatment for pregnancy prevention
- Referral for additional and/or follow-up medical treatment
- Referral for other services, including counseling options
Remember, it is best not to wash, bathe, brush your teeth or douche. If you have done any of these activities mentioned, you can and we recommend that you still get a medical forensic examination.
If you have not changed the clothing you were wearing during or immediately after the assault, these clothes may be collected by your Forensic Nurse Examiner, and new clothing will be provided to you from the SATC.
If you suspect that you were given any medications or drugs, medical care for testing and collecting evidence is extremely important and should be completed as soon as possible. These drugs leave your system very quickly.
Do I need to make an appointment for myself or loved one to be seen at the SATC? What options are available to me?
Option 1: Call 911 as soon as possible. No appointment is needed at the SATC after calling 911; Law enforcement will contact us on your behalf.
Option 2: Go to your local emergency room. No appointment is needed at the SATC; emergency room staff will contact us on your behalf.
Option 3: If you do not wish to report to law enforcement, you can contact the SATC directly. Call 260-423-2222 and the Forensic Nurse Examiner will discuss your healthcare options.
Do I have to pay for services provided at the SATC?
The services provided by the SATC are free of charge to you as our patient. The Indiana Victims Sex Crimes fund will pay for the medical-forensic examination and the forensic evidence collection, whether you choose to report to law enforcement or not.
Where is the Sexual Assault Treatment Center located?
The SATC is a secure facility located in Suite 201 at 2270 Lake Avenue in Fort Wayne, Indiana. You will enter off of Kerrway Court.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “the social stigma that surrounds sexual violence issues can be severely isolating and burdensome, often preventing victims from disclosing and receiving the services they need.” Each survivor is an individual and as such, we cannot predict what services will be needed for every survivor. We can however, provide information regarding general aftercare recommendations.
Asking for help is not weakness, it is actually strength; and help is available for you somewhere in your world. Seek it out.
Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing
Sexual violence increases a victim’s risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. STIs or sexually transmitted infections, formerly referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), cannot be diagnosed immediately. Although you may have been given preventative medications specifically for Gonorrhea , Trichomonas and/or Chlamydia, follow-up testing is still recommended four weeks following a sexual assault. You can always follow-up with your primary care physician for testing and treatment of STI’s. Most communities have clinics that offer confidential, free or reduced price testing. Refer to United Way 211 Online for options in your community.
Counseling and Support Groups
There is no “right way” of dealing with sexual violence. Each individual needs to do what seems right for him or her at the time. Many survivors experience a combination of emotions such as shock, confusion, fear, anger, helplessness, self-blame, guilt, embarrassment, shame, numbness and disbelief. Whatever your reaction, please know it is not uncommon to experience a mixture of uncomfortable feelings and thoughts after this type of trauma. With time, support, self-understanding and self-compassion, the difficult or painful emotions you may be having will subside. Many survivors find support through individual and/or group counseling services. There are many qualified, compassionate mental health providers and organizations who specialize in treatment for sexual assault survivors.
United Way 211 Online: Northeast Indiana 211 Information and Referral Search provides free and confidential access to health and human service information and referral assistance. Follow the link to connect to community based organizations offering assistance with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and other services. By entering your zip code and defining which service you need, options with contact information from within your home county will be provided.
Listed below are several different resources located in Allen County available to survivors and loved ones of sexual assault, intimate partner violence and molestation. The YWCA offers a crisis shelter for emergency housing for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Crime Victim Care provides services to immigrants and refugee families that have experienced crisis. The Women’s Bureau provides crisis intervention and counseling. Trained rape crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 260-426-RAPE (7273). Counseling services are also available through the Women’s Bureau. The Center for Non-Violence has a support group called SAFE, that is free of charge for sexual violence survivors and children/parents’ of children who have experienced sexual abuse. If your assault occurred in Fort Wayne you may be assigned a Victim’s Advocate through the Fort Wayne Police Department’s Victim Assistance program. A complete list of Indiana State Victim Rights and Domestic Violence Safety Plan can be found at this link. RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization with numerous resources for survivors, parents and those supporting loved ones of sexual abuse. INCASA (Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault) also has numerous resources available.
Ultimately, the only “right” decisions with regards to aftercare testing and treatment are those that survivors choose for themselves, after receiving all available information.
The psychological impact of sexual assault is real and traumatic. During the assault your loved one may have felt hopeless and possibly feared for her/his life. Recovery is a slow rebuilding process. You can help your loved one’s recovery by encouraging her/him to seek professional help. Believe and listen to your loved one. Expect for your loved one to experience several different emotions and be prepared for anger, denial and sadness to exist.
Sexual assault is traumatic for everyone involved. You, as the support system, may feel victimized by the assault and experience anger, disbelief, confusion. These are all normal reactions. You may blame yourself for not being able to protect your loved one. Please know that the only person that is responsible for the assault is the assailant. Even if your loved one chooses not to seek professional help, you can enter counseling yourself. Help is available. See resources above.