LAYTON, Utah (News4Utah) – April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and News4Utah is highlighting organizations focused on combating this life-altering crime. One multi-agency collaboration is helping victims in the form of an exam room. It’s a kind of focused care experts say is vital for survivors.
Inside Intermountain Health Care’s new Layton Hospital sits an exam room. At first glance it seems average, but a closer look shows subtle differences. This room is a specialized sexual assault forensic examination room. It’s separate from the rest of the hospital, is quiet, and ready 24 hours a day. The goal is to decrease trauma.
Jeanlee Carver, the President, CEO, and Medical Director for the Northern Utah Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (NUSANE) says, “We cover our patients with a nice soft blanket rather than a paper drape or cold sheet,” she continues, “…We attempt to make this as friendly as possible, and as comfortable as possible.”
Carver explains that NUSANE is a group of 12 nurses who came together to provide care and evidence collection for victims of sexual violence. Since 2006, that’s exactly what they’ve done. But it was a partnership with Intermountain Health Care and Safe Harbor Crisis Center that made this room a reality.
Kristen Floid is the Executive Director of Safe Harbor, which is a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center in Layton, explains, “This exam room is actually the first one of it’s kind in Davis County. Historically, if someone had an experience with sexual assault, they’re having to go in to an emergency room, or into a facility in the Ogden area.”
Floid says having to travel to an exam, or sitting in a waiting room, can re-traumatize a victim.
That’s why this room is vital.
Mia Rostovska, the Lead Advocate of the Sexual Assault Program at Safe Harbor Crisis Center says, “It’s not a nice experience getting examined after a sexual assault, but we are trying to make this as trauma informed as possible by giving the survivor space, by giving the survivor privacy, and by giving them the respect that they deserve.”
Respect in a time of trauma — these advocates say it’s something a victim truly deserves.
Safe Harbor Crisis Center will be hosting events throughout the month of April to raise awareness about sexual assault. For more information about Safe Harbor, click here. For more information about NUSANE, click here.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can call:
The Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline
The Safe Harbor 24/7 Crisis Line
If you’re in immediate danger, dial 911