Oct 1, 2014 8:29 PM
The Butte County Sexual Assault Response Team wants victims of sexual assault to know that the first step is the most important: get an exam.
The group has just released it's annual statistics. Nurses with SART examined 65 women in Butte County in 2013. They say there are more victims out there, including men, who may have been too intimidated or ashamed to get an exam. But they are hoping to change that. They say the healing process begins once a victim walks through the door, when that person makes the difficult but brave decision to come forward.
Forensive nurse Jacqueline Winters-Hall says, "I have seen patients come in here so broken, so traumatized physically and emotionally...We like to believe that the healing starts here." She says the team works with the victim at his or her pace. "We come in the middle of the night, usually to deal with a patient who has just had the worst experience of their life. We make sure they're physically OK, explain the forensic exam process." She says once evidence is collected, it's up to the victim to decide whether to pursue charges. But it is imparative to get the exam completed as soon as possible, in case charges are filed down the road.