Medical Options - Sexual Assault
The first 96 hours after an assault are critical to the preservation and collection of forensic evidence. It is also a critical time for medical treatment for potential pregnancy or transmission of infections. Survivors may request a forensic exam performed by a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) from the East Baton Rouge Coroner’s Office at the LSU Student Health Center, Monday - Friday from 8am-5pm at no cost. Survivors are often hesitant to have the forensic exam because they are unsure about what will happen, particularly regarding filing a police report and pressing charges. However, without a forensic exam conducted in the first 96 hours, crucial evidence could be lost and the survivor's legal case may be significantly weakened. The state will pay for the forensic exam if it is performed at a hospital/ health center with a SANE. A police report will be taken at the time of the exam and the state will follow through with investigating the crime at the survivor's request. If a survivor is unsure about whether or not to press charges, the state will hold the forensic evidence for one year.
Physical Evidence Preservation:
- Do not bathe or douche.
- Do not brush teeth or ingest food/beverages.
- Do not change clothes if possible and do not wash the clothes worn at the time of the assault. Those clothes are considered forensic evidence and will be collected by the forensic examiner. If a survivor doesn't want to wear those clothes to the hospital/health center, s/he can bring them in a paper bag. Do not use a plastic bag because it may compromise the evidence.
Crime Scene Preservation:
The space where the assault occurred is considered a crime scene. The police will gather additional evidence from the scene once charges are filed. If the assault occurred in a residence hall or other building on campus, a Lighthouse Advocate can assist with confidentiality issues during the collection of the evidence. Housing relocation is an option for any survivor who lives on-campus.
No survivor has to go through a forensic exam alone. A Lighthouse or Sexual Trauma Awareness Response Advocate will accompany a survivor through the forensic exam, providing support and answering questions about the exam at the Student Health Center or hospital, respectively. The Advocate can also help a survivor connect with campus/community resources for support after the exam and for assistance with other options.
It is recommended that a survivor get medical attention even if s/he decides not to have a forensic exam. The survivor may seek treatment with her/his private physician or a provider at the Student Health Center. Treatment options can include emergency contraception and testing/treatment for potential sexually transmitted infections.