CORRECTION (Oct. 8, 12:13 am) This article has been updated to clarify the medical resources available to sexual assault victims on campus.

Victims of sexual assault at Emory should not have to go off-campus to receive the necessary care that they need. While students can receive medical care, the unfortunate reality is that our school does lacks the personnel and resources to provide the around-the-clock Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program necessary for a victim’s legal actions following the assault. As a result, victims may be forced to seek help in an alternate hospital, complicating their recovery process.

To alleviate this problem, Emory should offer a SANE program that would consist of multiple equipped nurses. It would provide 24/7 care and a forensic exam to victims of sexual assault. In addition, they would be able to provide testimony in court if the victim chose to press charges against their rapist. A full SANE program is a necessary step Emory University should take to aid the recovery of sexual assault survivors.

One of the most trying experiences a victim of sexual assault must undergo is a forensic exam, which often yields crucial evidence for legal procedures. The exam may take a few hours, and the survivor must avoid basic tasks such as using the bathroom or showering until the exam is complete. During the exam, a rape kit is collected with DNA evidence if the victim chooses to report the rape or sexual assault. This process can be extremely painful for victims to undergo mere hours after such a traumatizing incident. With the implementation of multiple SANE personnel, victims will be able to receive the care they need on their own terms, in a place they might feel more comfortable. A SANE program is the best solution to make the process of a forensic exam as painless as possible. 

It is imperative that the University develop a SANE program with multiple trained nurses given the high amount of students in need of these resources. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 23.1 percent of female and 5.4 percent of male undergraduate students experience rape or sexual assault on campus. In particular, students are most susceptible to sexual assault during the “red zone,” the first four months of college, and this is especially dangerous for freshmen who are facing new environments they don’t know how to navigate. Emory must make a conscious effort to support the recovery process for victims by providing essential resources, and a fully staffed SANE program could change lives for a significant number of Emory’s undergraduate population. 

An on-campus, 24/7 SANE program would help lower the dehumanizing impact of forensic exams on victims. In Chanel Miller’s upcoming memoir “Know My Name,” she discusses her experience reclaiming her identity after being assaulted by Brock Turner at Stanford University (Calif.). In a statement directed at Turner, Miller said that she was only allowed to shower after a few hours of invasive body examinations. She decided that “[she didn’t] want [her] body anymore … [she] wanted to take off [her] body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital like anything else.” These exams negatively impact the mental state of survivors, and the least universities can do is provide a safe space for victims on campus. Survivors should not have to worry about traveling off-campus mere hours after such a traumatizing event. 

Other universities have already begun establishing SANE programs on campus. Two years ago, Colgate University (N.Y.) launched a full SANE program, and now a second site is being launched in the county so that all students and residents can access medical care. The University of Michigan also has SANE personnel available on campus to collect evidence and treat survivors. Emory should follow suit and become a leader in the development of SANE programs. 

While much-needed resources such as the Respect Program and a singular SANE are a step in the right direction, Emory still has a long way to go. It is not enough to offer advocacy and raise awareness. If Emory truly wants to support sexual assault survivors, they must launch a full SANE program so that victims can always get the treatment they need on campus.

Brammhi Balarajan (23C) is from Las Vegas.

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