• Joy Slaughter

6 Help for Sexual Assault


CAUTION: SPOILERS TW: Sexual assault information


Chapter 6 is a tough chapter.


___________________________ His mind raced through the protocols she refused to follow. Evidence preservation. Transport. Rape kit. Special Victims report. He wanted rules, a system. Check the boxes, and everything will be all right. ___________________________


While paramedics have protocols for handling sexual assault cases, there are nurses specially trained to offer further care for sexual assault survivors. Sexual assault nurse examiners, SANE, are registered nurses with specialty training to support survivors, provide comprehensive health care, and ensure evidence preservation. Though there is a shortfall of SANE nurses right now, they can be commonly found at Emergency Rooms or on call to hospitals, doctor’s offices, and advocacy offices.


Sexual assault survivors can display many behaviors that may seem scary or confusing. Panic attacks, numbed sensations or conversely, hypersensitive states, dissociation/dissociative thoughts, anger/rage, vomiting, and shaking are common in the acute stage of rape trauma syndrome. We see much of this in Megan. It’s important to remember that there is no “typical” response to rape. There is no “right way” to act. There are no “wrong” feelings.


The outward adjustment stage occurs after the acute state. During this stage, the survivor may minimize the assault (“It’s fine.”), dramatize (tell the story over and over), suppress the assault (refuse to discuss it at all), explain the assault (analyze what happened), and commonly, take flight (move to a new city/state, or in Megan’s case, to Emily’s house). While these are common reactions, they aren’t the only reactions survivors take. Again, there is no “right way” to act. As the story progresses, we see further examples of the outward adjustment stage in Megan.


The National Sexual Assault Hotline, which is managed by RAINN (rape, abuse, and incest national network), is available if you are the survivor of sexual assault and feel the need for help or resources. Their website offers live chat and static information.


National Sexual Assault Hotline

1-800-656-4673

You can also call 911 or go to your local emergency room.