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Raising Awareness on Sexual Assault with Debbie Curtis

Sexual Assault shouldn’t happen, but if it does, the Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program is the place to go for help. The SANE program provides confidential services including medical exams and treatment, options for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, assistance in working with law enforcement, collection of forensic evidence and referrals for counseling and follow-up care.

Debbie Curtis, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner with Rutherford Hospital, says “Sexual assault is a healthcare issue. Raising awareness on this very important issue will decrease violence in our community. Encouraging victims to seek medical care and emotional care is important.” 

SANEs are registered nurses who have advanced education in medical care and forensic examination of sexual assault victims. SANEs provide prompt, compassionate and comprehensive care in a safe environment. Services are provided 24-hours-a-day through the Rutherford Hospital emergency department.

Common responses to sexual assault include emotional, physical, cognitive and social changes.

If you are a victim of sexual assault remember to do the following:

  • Don’t eat or drink anything
  • Don’t shower, bathe, brush your teeth or rinse your mouth
  • Don’t urinate or have a bowel movement
  • Don’t comb your hair or change your clothes
  • Don’t smoke

*It is important to have a sexual assault exam performed even if you have done one or more of the activities on this list. Rutherford Hospital provides exams up to 120 hours (5 days) after the assault for victims ages 13 or older.

Need a physician? Call 1-800-Doctors for a free physician referral or visit for a free physician referral. 

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