Sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual abuse can happen anywhere and to anyone. Survivors often struggle with feelings of shame, self-doubt and guilt. They may feel as though they will not be believed or taken seriously if they disclose what happened to them.
“Hearing the words ‘I believe you’ can be incredibly validating and empowering for a sexual assault survivor,” said Shelli Dalton, RN, a sexual assault nurse examiner at Sarah’s Place in Albany. “By hearing those words, survivors are reassured that their experiences are valid and that they are not alone. This can help to alleviate feelings of isolation and self-blame and can facilitate the healing process.
Sarah’s Place Offers a Safe Environment to All
Sarah’s Place is a sexual assault nurse examiner, also known as SANE, clinic located at Samaritan Albany General Hospital. The clinic provides specialized, private and secure medical treatment and forensic exams to people who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence or abuse.
Separate from the Emergency Department, specially trained staff can deliver comprehensive acute sexual assault care in a safe and quiet space. The home-like atmosphere allows patients to take all the time they need with proper support.
The clinic provides care to all regardless of age, gender identity, socioeconomic status or education status. There is no single demographic for victims of sexual violence.
Since opening in 2016, Sarah’s Place has served over 1,400 community members.
Recovering From Sexual Assault
“The recovery process is different for everyone. It may take weeks, months or even years,” said Dalton. “Always remember that you are not alone and there are many resources and people here for you.”
Sarah’s Place works closely with local law enforcement agencies, Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence, My Sister’s Place, ABC House, Oregon State University Student Health Services and Western Oregon University to provide ongoing care and assistance for survivors.
Sarah’s Place is funded by Samaritan Health Services, the Samaritan Foundations’ Employee Caring Campaign, Oregon’s Crime Victims Compensation and private donations.
Quick Facts About Sexual Assault, Harassment & Abuse
- Sexual violence is always the responsibility of the person who chose to commit the crime.
- Perpetrators of sexual violence often use their position of power, control and intimidation to get what they want.
- Sexual violence happens when someone makes the choice to not receive consent from their victim.
- A victim should never be blamed because of what they chose to wear.
- Being at a specific location or type of establishment is not an invitation to be sexually assaulted.
- You can help curb the stigma by refraining from and interrupting oppressive jokes, comments and assumptions.