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Nurse discusses role of SANEs, prevalence of sexual assault

| Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Saint Mary’s Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) invited Nancy Grant, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) and Forensic Coordinator in the Forensic Department at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, to speak to students about her position, resources available and statistics on sexual assault as part of Sexual Violence Awareness Month on Tuesday evening.

The event was held in Rice Commons and put on by co-chairs of BAVO Awareness and Outreach Committee junior Emily Scott and graduate student Jess Purvis.

“We had brainstorming sessions during Student Advisory Committee training and this was one of the things that we decided upon,” Scott said. “We’ve heard the student nurses here on campus receive these kinds of lectures or training, so it just seemed beneficial for the rest of the campus to hear about.”

Scott said she is hopeful girls who attended the event will raise awareness and find the session informative.

“I want the girls who come to events like this to have more awareness and for them to know that they have resources here,” she said.

Grant began her presentation with basic information about what a SANE is and does.

“We do see a lot of different counties because there aren’t very many forensic programs in our state, especially in Northern Indiana,” Grant said. “We have continuing education for our nurses. They are required to attend at least one educational offering every six months. Most of them surpass that and attend at least one thing per month.”

Grant then talked to the group about the statistics of assault and its frequency.

“One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually assaulted by the age of 18. That’s a huge impact on our community and our society,” Grant said. “Every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States.”

Grant continued with the statistics and said she finds it upsetting to see the lack of prosecution of sexual assault cases.

“Only 17% of our rape cases are prosecuted nationally. That is unsettling to me,” Grant said. “We are trying super hard in our community to make a change for that. We have made big strides with the nurses that are trained to take care of patients who come in that have been sexually assaulted. Our prosecutors have gotten better, detectives have gotten much better.”

Grant also talked about the prevalence of domestic and sexual abuse in communities in the United States and worldwide. She said assault can happen in any group of people.

“What we’re talking about with intimate partner violence is any physical, sexual, psychological harm caused by a current or former partner or spouse [and it] is a worldwide problem affecting all demographic groups,” Grant said.

Purvis said she hopes people will be able to use this event as a way to better educate people on sexual assault.

“[Grant] gives some really good facts, and I hope that people are comfortable enough to share that information with other people,” Purvis said. “It can be a hard topic to talk about. They can be like, ‘Oh, I went to this thing last night and I know this information about it now,’ and that can make it all easier to talk about.”

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