LETTERS: You don’t have to face aftermath of sexual assault alone

A start-up company planning to sell at-home, do-it-yourself sexual assault evidence collection kits has been in recent news.

Because Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRCNM) is committed to the well-being of women, we are compelled to provide information about options available to survivors during a very crucial time in their life.
• Sexual assault evidence collection kits are provided no matter a person’s ability to pay as part of sexual assault medical forensic examinations.
• The exam provided by medical professionals also addresses health care needs of a rape survivor, such as injuries, prevention/treatment of pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases.
• Local WRCNM counselor/advocates are available 24/7 and can meet the survivor at hospitals, provide support, and talk them through what is happening and what will happen next.
They are there to provide emotional support, advocacy (medical, legal, housing, financial), information and resources as survivors make important decisions about their choices, rights, and care. This is at no cost to survivors.
• Sexual assault evidence collection kits used by medical professionals provide the needed ‘chain of custody’ to ensure the evidence is admissible in court if the survivor decides to file a report.
• Sexual assault evidence collection kits used by medical professionals have access to the national DNA database to help identify perpetrators and repeat offenders.
A new Michigan process allows survivors access to see where their sexual assault evidence collection kit is within the criminal justice process.
The privacy of an at-home kit may motivate some to consider such an option, however, survivors need not face this challenging time alone.
WRCNM provides 24/7 confidential support, information and resources when survivors need it most to help them understand their options and rights.
For information or support, call the WRCNM 24-hour help and information line at (231) 347-0082 or (800) 275-1995.
Angie Linsenman, Counseling and Advocacy Program Director
Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan

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