Home » Uncategorized » Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By Dana Stueber
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Coordinator, HSHS St. Vincent Hospital

GREEN BAY – Each week, an average of four to five people come through the doors of the HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Emergency Center in Green Bay seeking an exam following what was likely one of the most traumatic experiences of their lives – sexual assault.

These victims, a total of 238 people in 2021 alone, traveled to the hospital to see a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). 

Unfortunately, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), those who seek this care are in the minority.

The DHS estimates that of the nearly 18,000 projected sexual assaults that occur annually in Wisconsin – only a fraction of the victims seek help and report the crime. Nationally, it’s estimated just 25% of victims file a report with the police.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and just acknowledging the fact that sexual violence is a growing trend within our community can serve as a first step in helping to fix the problem.

By creating awareness, the estimated 1.2 million Wisconsinites who have experienced sexual violence within their lifetime can be reassured, that health care providers and the public are not turning a blind eye to sexual assault and the lasting impacts it has on victims. 

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program

The 14 team members of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital are the only health care providers of this type in Brown County, specially trained to medically assist victims of sexual assault.

This not only includes caring for the victims’ physical injuries and collecting forensic evidence including DNA, but also caring for all victims with the utmost compassion and respect.

SANE staff are also trained to be expert listeners and help patients navigate concerns related to the treatment of sexually-transmitted infections or any other issues that may arise.

From the process of collecting medical evidence to performing exams, these nurses provide care in a sensitive and nonthreatening manner ensuring patients know all their available options. 

For many survivors of sexual violence, the physical pain from the attack is likely the first of many symptoms created by the assault.

Many victims of sexual assault develop chronic pain, depression, PTSD and drug or alcohol addiction to cope with the trauma.

Additional resources

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners also direct sexual assault victims to additional resources within Brown County that can help survivors start the process of healing.

Nurses will connect survivors with advocates at the Family Services Sexual Assault Center in Green Bay for counseling services and support as victims make their way through lengthy court processes. 

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners and sexual assault advocates are working to give survivors back the power and control, which was taken from them.

Survivors who utilize the SANE program are not only more likely to report the crimes committed against them, but they are also more likely to see their perpetrators convicted of crimes against them.

24/7/365 services

If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual assault, please seek SANE services at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital.

Nurses provide services 24/7/365.

Victims can go to the emergency center and a nurse will be called in to assist you.

The Wisconsin Crime Lab currently recommends a DNA collection window of five days, but patients can still obtain care outside that timeline. 

To learn more about the SANE program at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital, visit: hshs.org/StVincent/Services/Emergency-Care/Sexual-Assault-Nurse-Examiner 

The Family Services Sexual Assault Center can be reached at (920) 436-8899.

The National Sexual Assault Hotline is also available at 1-800-656-4673.

Facebook Comments
Scroll to Top