Rape Crisis SANE Program in Savannah, GA

The Rape Crisis Center and St. Joseph's/Candler work together to provide SANE, the medical examination program addressing rape and/or sexual assault. Emotional trauma following sexual assault can include anger, fear, embarrassment, self-blame and depression.  This program is located at Candler Hospital.  For more information about sexual assault and the services of the Rape Crisis Center, please visit www.rccsav.org.

Frequently Asked Questions about SANE

What is SANE?
SANE stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. SANE is a unique service provided to females and males 13 years and over who have been sexually assaulted. This service is provided by specially trained nurse examiners 24 hours a day within 96 hours of incident. The role of SANE is to collect evidence from the body or clothing of the victim. The nurse is especially sensitive to trauma issues and treats victims with dignity and respect.

How does SANE work?
Community protocol requires the law enforcement agency responding at the assault scene to transport victims to us. At the hospital, victims are met by the SANE nurse and the Rape Crisis Center's victim advocate. An interview is conducted with all team members present, so the victim does not have to repeat her story. The victim is then examined by the nurse, given clean clothing and medication, if needed and is taken home.

Why is the victim advocate from the Rape Crisis Center present?
The advocate is there to give both emotional support and information to the victim and family or friends. The advocate makes sure the victim understands what is happening and has fresh clothes and transportation home. She informs the victim of follow-up counseling services offered through the Rape Crisis Center, including a 24-hour crisis line at (912) 233-7273.

What is involved in a forensic examination?
The nurse will carefully examine the victim for injuries. She will also look for evidence the assailant may have left on the victim's body, such as hair, saliva, semen or blood. The examination is similar to a routine gynecological exam. The nurse collects DNA, takes pictures of injuries and searches for internal injuries. A special magnifying camera is used, which is helpful in seeing minor injuries. Evidence can help make a stronger case in court.

What about sexually transmitted diseases?
The nurse will evaluate for this possibility and may administer a preventive antibiotic. She will also recommend the victim visit the health department within two weeks for a baseline HIV test and STD test.

What if I don't want to go to court?
At any point in the process, the victim has a right to this choice. However, there is a short window of opportunity-within five days of the assault-to collect the evidence needed to prosecute. After five days, the chances of finding evidence are greatly diminished. Even if you think you may not want to prosecute, we recommend the examination. Later you will have the option to prosecute if you change your mind.

What if I did something to cause the assault?
Sexual assault is never the victim's fault. Most attacks are planned. The victim has no control over the assailant's behavior. Realizing that you did not cause the attack is part of the healing process. Reaching out for help from the Rape Crisis Center and the SANE program can help you begin that journey.

What about date rape drugs?
There are a variety of date rape drugs and they are readily accessible. They are colorless, odorless and tasteless and are commonly used in beverages. The victim is "out" for several hours. When she wakes, she has no memory of recent events. The drug goes out of the system very quickly, so it is very important to be tested as soon as possible.

I don't know who assaulted me, so what good is a forensic examination?
Many rapists attack more than one victim. The examination may reveal the identity of your attacker through DNA found in the evidence. This can not only make a very strong case against your assailant, but may also strengthen cases of other victims as well.

Isn't it scary to go to court?
The court process can be confusing and lengthy. The Rape Crisis Center advocate helps victims understand the process and can accompany you to proceedings. In many cases, the victim is the only witness the case cannot proceed without. Many victims report that participating in the court process contributed greatly to their emotional healing.

How do I receive counseling?
Call the rape crisis line at (912) 233-7273 or (888) 241-7273 to talk with a counselor. Counseling is also available by appointment in the office by calling (912) 233-3000.

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