It can be uncomfortable and invasive, but the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program at Presbyterian Hospital is necessary for survivors in need of a rape kit.
"It's the toughest thing that someone's ever going to have to go through," said Janelle Gettmann, marketing coordinator for the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center (DARCC).
Presbyterian Hospital is one of three places where a patient can get a sexual assault forensic exam in Dallas, and DARCC serves as advocates for survivors who go there.
Advocates are on-call to go in and meet survivors who request SANE. They walk patients through the process and add a human touch to a difficult process. They also run a 24-hour hotline.
"I'm just here for you to be your support, to answer your question," Gettmann said.
DARCC keeps hygiene kits for showers and comfortable clothes survivors can wear home after the exam.
"Most of the time, their clothes are taken from them for evidence purposes and they have nothing to go home in," said Megan Freeman, DARCC crisis services coordinator. "If we don't have donations, what they have to go home in are scrubs."
But calls are up, and the clothes are running in low supply fast, said Freeman, particularly small and medium sizes of women’s underwear.
The organization hasn’t had snacks for patients in three months.
While it may seem like a small thing, Gettmann said, patients are unable to eat before they get a DNA swab of their mouth, and sometimes they haven’t eaten in hours.
But what DARCC really needs are volunteers.
“We have a great need for volunteers more than ever because not only are the amount of calls we're getting going up, but the coverage of volunteers has gone down,” Freeman said.
“Last night we had three hospital calls come in within about 30 minutes of each other,” Gettmann said. “If you have two advocates and three hospital calls and then, who's on the hotline. There was nobody able to really watch the hotline and be able to fully dedicate time to that… It’s a terrible feeling.”
For more information on DARCC, go to www.dallasrapecrisis.org.
To find out more about their needs, go to: http://a.co/h4IPjHU