Medical Exams and Tests After Rape

After a sexual assault, it is recommended that the survivor have evidence of the attack collected by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) at a hospital – however the decision to do this is a very personal decision. Collecting evidence can feel invasive and some people decide they do not want a ‘sexual assault evidence collection kit’ or ‘rape kit’. The choice to have evidence collected or not is truly up to the survivor, it is their decision alone, and no matter the decision – the decision should be supported.

A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner or SANE is a specially trained forensic medical professional. In general, during a SANE examination, a specially trained medical examiner will investigate the survivor for evidence of the assault. The examiner might look for hairs, fibers, body fluids, bruising, bleeding and other forms of evidence. In addition, the SANE may ask questions about what happened before, during and after the assault, as well as questions about when the assault occurred and where.

If you choose to have an examination, it is generally recommended that you:

  • Go to a safe place. Consider going to your room, a friend’s room, or anywhere you will feel safe.
  • If you can, do not clean up, do not brush your teeth, or change your clothes. It may be difficult to keep from cleaning yourself up, but if you do you may destroy evidence that could be collected during the examination. It is advised that you do not wash up, douche, change clothes, eat, brush your teeth, go to the bathroom or brush your hair. Even if you are not sure about reporting the assault to the police, some people may feel that it makes sense to preserve evidence of the assault.
  • If you are not sure what to do, you can call the HWS Center for Counseling and Wellness to discuss your options: (315) 781-3388, or for After Hours Emergencies: (315) 781-3333. For off campus support contact Safe Harbors the local rape crisis center, at 800-247-7273.
  • For more information on local SANE resources:
    F.F. Thompson Hospital Emergency Room (315-396-6000)
    F.F. Thompson Hospital provides medical services and has a 24 hour certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner who can collect forensic evidence; located on 350 Parrish Street in Canandaigua. We strongly encourage sexual assault survivors to contact the staff at Safe Harbors (800-247-7273) as they are available to provide emotional and legal advice and support and can accompany survivors to the hospital for the forensic examination.

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