What is Sexual Assault?
“Any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent.” - US Department of Justice
All of the following are examples of sexual assault:
- You have been forced into any sexual act.
- There would be retaliation, or consequence, if you did not comply with a sexual act.
- Someone started or continued to touch you after you denied consent.
- A sexual act occurred when you were not able to consent.
Sexual assault is not something that happens accidently, or from a misunderstanding. Consent is clear, affirmative communication between two or more capable adults, no matter their relationship- from strangers to spouses. You are not at fault for a sexual assault. It does not matter what you were wearing, drinking, or doing prior to someone committing a violent crime against you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Ages 13 years and up. We offer exams to all persons ages 13 years and older. For the closest hospitals that offer pediatric exams to persons younger than 13, please call 911.
- All genders. We offer exams to all persons regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Luminis Health has been recognized as a Leader in LGBTQIA+ Healthcare Equality since 2017.
- All citizenship statuses. We offer exams to all persons, from US citizens to undocumented citizens. “Even though immigration laws are constantly changing, it’s important to know your rights. You always have the right to stay safe and you do not need to disclose your immigration status in order to receive help. Additionally, it’s important to know that you have the right to access limited English proficiency assistance, emergency medical care, shelter, short-term housing, crisis counseling and intervention programs, soup kitchens, community food banks, protection under Title IX, assistance from law enforcement, and Crime Victim Compensation. You also have the right to file for protective orders, divorce, or custody of your children.” National Domestic Violence Hotline.
- All incomes. We offer exams to all persons regardless of ability to pay. The state of Maryland will pay the bills of a hospital visit for sexual assault.
- If you are not ready for police involvement, you may have an anonymous exam, sometimes called a “Jane Doe” exam. Any evidence collected will be stored up to 75 years, and no police report or investigation will be made.
- Should you decide later that you want to report to police and open an investigation you may call the hospital where you had your exam or the police department where the assault occurred. These numbers are in your AAMC discharge papers.
- If you want to report to police, we can help you contact the correct police department.
We're here to help.
- What you share with us is protected health information. It is your choice to report to the police or to not report. If you want to report, we can help you do this. If you are not ready for police involvement, your information will not be shared with them. We also cannot share any information with anyone who is not you- that includes family and friends. Your information is yours alone.
- DNA evidence often gets absorbed by clothing worn during or immediately after the assault. If you have these clothes, please bring them with you to the hospital. Do not wash these clothes.
- You will not be charged for this hospital visit, the state will support your bill for a sexual assault exam regardless of reporting status.
- You will be seen by an emergency room physician to attend to any injuries.
- Next, a Domestic Violence Specialist will speak with you to address safety needs. These include safe shelter and protective orders among other resources.
- You will then meet with a Forensic Nurse Examiner who will conduct a sexual assault exam, with the history of what happened, photograph injuries, collect DNA evidence, and offer medications for preventing pregnancy, HIV, and other STDs if applicable.
- You will have follow-up calls from both a Domestic Violences Specialist and a Forensic Nurse Examiner to check in with you. We are here to answer any questions you have!
- The Domestic Violence Specialist will provide you with information for counseling and other support resources to support you throughout your recovery. You are never alone in this.
- If you reported to police:
- A detective will be in touch with you to discuss the events you reported. You may reach out to the police to ask about the status of your exam kit being tested. If you do not receive a response from the police within 30 days, please call the FNE Supervisor at 443-481-6008 with your name, case number, and police department responsible.
- If you did NOT report to police:
- If you did not bring the clothes worn during or immediately after an assault, please place them in a paper bag somewhere out of sight like the top of your closet. That way, should you decide to report, a lab may still find DNA evidence.
- Should you decide to report at a later date, please call either the FNE Supervisor at 443-481-6008 or the police department listed on your consent form for anonymous reporting in your discharge papers.
We're ready to listen. Call our Abuse/ Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program today at 443-481-1209 for confidential, professional help. Please know it may take up to 24 hours for a response.
If you're in a life-threatening, emergency situation, call 911 or 24/7 National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.