To the editor:
Sexual assault forensic exams (or rape exams) are a service provided at the Cache Valley Hospital and the Children’s Justice Center here in Cache Valley. These exams are given to survivors of sexual assault and rape to collect evidence and assess bodily harm in order to help survivors heal, move on, and seek justice if they so choose.
These exams are immensely helpful to survivors who need them, but bear constraints such as time and location which are not widely known — missing details which contribute to many survivors losing access to the service.
In Cache Valley, sexual assault forensic exams are only available at the Cache Valley Hospital for adults, and the Children’s Justice Center for minors. In order to collect useful evidence, exams should be given within five days of the rape or sexual assault. However, the chances are improved if survivors get them as soon as possible — even before showering, changing clothes, etc.
It is these missing details which are leaving survivors in our community more traumatized with fewer options, at the wrong hospitals without a change of clothes for after the exam, and delayed through an already tedious process.
For this reason, for the people of our community who need it, there is help available. CAPSA sends advocates directly to the hospital to provide support throughout the process and connect with useful resources afterward. They provide information and ensure the process always remains focused on the needs of the survivor.
If you have experienced rape or sexual assault and need help, whether that be going through a forensic exam or simply want to know what option are available, CAPSA is here for you.