The Student Health Center is committed to providing students physical and emotional support following a sexual assault regardless of the duration of time since the assault occurred. For medical care following an assault or follow-up care, you can make an appointment during regular office hours. Services provided include:
- Non-evidentiary medical exam
- Behavioral health counseling and/or psychiatric services
- Prescriptions for prophylactic medications for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Emergency contraception
- HIV prophylaxis
- Referrals to other community resources
Go to University Hospital Emergency Department for a medical/forensic exam
If you suspect you or someone you know has recently experienced partner violence/abuse and/or sexual violence and need immediate help, please access services through the University Health Care Emergency Department. If you would like to press charges against the perpetrator now or in the future, it is helpful to have a forensic exam as soon as possible after the incident.
If you are considering a forensic exam, we ask that you
- Do not urinate, if possible. If there is concern about a drug-facilitated sexual assault, the first available urine will be collected at the clinic or emergency department.
- Do not eat or drink.
- Do not bathe or brush your teeth.
- Do not smoke.
- Bring clothes worn at the time of assault and immediately after assault, especially undergarments. Don’t wash the clothes. Store them in a paper bag, if possible (plastic bags prevent circulation and can destroy evidence).
- Bring a change of clothing.
- Bring a support person.
This evidence collection is facilitated by a specially trained nurse in the University Hospital Emergency Department. Sexual assault nurse examination (SANE) trained nurses are women who have special training in helping survivors of violence. The SANE occurs in a private room away from the emergency department.
- If possible, call the Emergency Department at 573-882-8091 before you leave and explain the situation.
- Even if evidence is collected and injuries are documented during a forensic exam, you may choose to not use the evidence to report the incident to law enforcement or seek criminal charges against the perpetrator. However, if initially you did not want to press charges but later you reconsider, the evidence will be available.
- SANE trained nurses can also provide medical treatment for injuries that occurred during the incident. They can also test for and/or treat sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
- If you choose to have an exam, some clothing worn during the assault may be needed as evidence; a clean set of clothing can be provided or you may bring your own change of clothing. If you have already removed the clothing worn during that attack, don’t wash the clothes and store them in a paper bag (note that plastic bags prevent circulation and can destroy evidence) and bring them to the SANE.
- A forensic exam can be an invasive and sometimes painful procedure. If you are uncomfortable with the procedure, you are not required to get one. However, staff will help you seek medical attention if your injuries are severe or life-threatening.
- If the assault did not happen recently, you are encouraged to seek counseling for support, testing for sexually transmitted infections and general medical treatment to help maintain good physical health.
How Do You Define Abuse?
Typical patterns of behaviors used by abusers include
- Destructive criticism and verbal attacks. Name calling, mocking, accusing, swearing, making humiliating remarks or gestures. Ridiculing your most valued beliefs.
- Pressure tactics or threats. Rushing you to make decisions using guilt, fear or intimidation. Regularly threatening to leave or telling you to leave. Making and/or carrying out threats to hurt you or others. Threatening you with a weapon, etc. Locking you in or out of the house. Taking the children. Threatening suicide. Reporting you to the Department of Social Services. Making you lose your job or something important to you.
- Emotional abuse. Manipulating you with lies or contradictions (playing “mind games‚”). Making you feel stupid or crazy (usually this is specific to whatever makes you feel the worst). Not following through on agreements. Manipulating the children. Abandoning you in a dangerous place. Refusing to take care of you or get help when you are sick or hurt. Destroying your possessions.
- Sexual violence. Degrading treatment. Forcing you to have sex. Using threats or coercion to obtain sex or perform sexual acts. Coercing sex during or after a violent incident.
- Minimizing, denying and blaming. Making light of behavior or insisting it is not serious. Denying the abuse happened. Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior (“It’s your fault. You made me do it.”).
- Physical violence. Being violent to you, others, or household pets. Slapping, punching, grabbing, kicking, choking, pushing, biting, holding you to prevent your leaving.
- Harassment. Making uninvited visits. Following you. Embarrassing you in public. Refusing to leave when asked. Accusing you of seeing someone else or being overly jealous. Obsessive web communication, such as e-mails, instant messages, Facebook, and cell phone calls and text messages.
- Economic control. Interfering with your work or not letting you work; threatening to withhold money; refusing to give you money or taking your money; taking your car keys or otherwise preventing you from using the car; ruining your credit; forcing you to do illegal acts for money.
- Isolation. Preventing or making it difficult for you to see friends or relatives; making family and friends so uncomfortable they do not want to visit; monitoring phone calls; telling you where you can and cannot go; moving to a place where you have support; not letting you have a phone or access to the car.
- Intimidation. Using looks, actions or gestures to make you scared to do something differently; making angry or threatening gestures; acting “crazy‚” or out of control; subjecting you to reckless driving; using physical size to intimidate (such as standing in the doorway during arguments); out-shouting you.
Who does abuse affect?
Domestic violence occurs in every culture, country and age group. It affects people from all socioeconomic, educational and religious backgrounds and takes place in relationships between partners of all genders.
How can I help my friend?
- Listen to them.
- Believe them.
- Do not minimize their struggle.
- Do not judge them.
- Assure them that they are not responsible for the abuse.
- Tell them it’s not their fault. You can never make someone else hurt you.
How can I help myself?
- Call the police if you are in danger.
- Talk with someone you trust: a friend or relative, a neighbor, coworker, physician, nurse, counselor, professor, residential life staff member, or religious or spiritual advisor.
- Call the Shelter hotline (573-875-1370 or 800-548-2480) for help.
- Remember you know your situation better than anyone else and you can choose the option that is best for you.
For more information, contact the MU Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center
Confidential campus resources
- MU Student Health Center: 573-882-7481
- MU Counseling Center: 573-882-6601
- MU Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Center: 573-884-5780
- Office for Civil Rights and Title IX : 573-882-3880
- MU Disability Center: 573-882-4696
- LGBTQ Resource Center: 573-884-7750
- Women’s Center: 573-882-6621
- Multicultural Center: 573-882-7152
- Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center: 573-882-2884
- Mid-Missouri Crisis Line: 445-5035 or 1-888-761-4357
- True North (The Shelter): 573-875-1370 or 1-800-548-2480 (24-hour hotline)
- The 24-hour hotline has trained individuals always available to talk with you or the SANE nurse, to address your concerns. These advocates can also be a resource and support to student and professional staff members who desire assistance with helping a student.
- True North will send a trained advocate to the hospital to assist you, helping you understand the options available and helping you navigate legal proceedings, medical procedures, and/or finding counseling services and emotional support.
- All services provided to you by True North employees and volunteers are free and confidential.