Sexual assault statistics* are nothing short of shocking:
- One in four girls and one in six boys are abused as minors.
- More than one-third of women who were raped as a child are raped again as adults.
- One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.
- One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.
- In eight out of 10 rapes, the victim knew the assailant.
- Nearly one in 10 women has been raped by an intimate partner.
And Manitowoc County is not immune. In 2015, nearly 150 people reported a sexual assault, but only six went to a medical facility for treatment. That’s part of the reason why Aurora Medical Center in Manitowoc County opened a new Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program in January of 2016. In the first nine months of the year alone, the hospital’s emergency department saw a more than fivefold increase in the number of adults treated for sexual assault.
“The program is so important because it’s the beginning of a process that gives survivors choices and connects them with resources in our community, including advocacy services,” explained Deanna Grundl, the SANE/Forensic Nursing Coordinator at Aurora in Manitowoc.
Specialized care is needed
Sexual assault is a complex crime, which results in trauma that requires specialized patient care. Nurses who deal with this kind of trauma must compassionately perform a thorough medical forensic examination of the victim while collecting evidence in the process.
“Because of this compassionate care, we’ve seen survivors who have decided to work with law enforcement. We’ve seen them be able to start the road to healing by making their own choices,” shared Deanna. “We’ve been able to help empower survivors, so they gain back control over their own lives. Even making simple decisions can be a start to that journey.”
The program is making great strides in the community, but there’s a lot of room for growth, including more community education and more training for nurses.
“Without more awareness in the community, survivors don’t know where to go for medical care. The more opportunities they have to find resources close to home, the more likely they will be to start the road to healing. We have an obligation to help survivors in any way we can.”
How you can help
You can help survivors of sexual assault by attending Live Well Manitowoc County on Saturday, September 16. Donations will help fund a more peaceful and private room for those going through emergency testing and treatment. Funds will also ensure community agencies and nursing staff receive needed education and ongoing training.
“My hope is that every victim of crime knows the community supports them and will help them heal,” said Deanna. “I hope they know they can go to a hospital and be connected with resources and be believed.”
*Statistics from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center