With sexual assault in the national headlines this week KSN spoke with a forensic nurse about the pressures they say victims face when choosing to report their assault.
“There is a whole list of reasons why people don’t report,” says Forensic Nurse Megan Meier, who works at Wesley Medical Center.
From the camera’s, to the kits, this hospital and in a small room, is often where victims tell their story.
“Every patient has a different type of story and what happens to them,” says Meier.
It’s Meier’s job as a forensic nurse to take care of someone who may have gone through sexual assault.
“Unless you step in their shoes you do not understand,” explains Meier.
Meier says it is difficult for victims to share their story and, in all reality, it may never even end up being reported to police.
“There is a whole list of reasons why people don’t report. There is a fear of reporting, people are ashamed to report, and a lot of times the perpetrator is somebody that they know,” she says.
Meier says, add to that, victim blaming. In fact, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 63 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. Something Meier says, with recent things like the #MeToo movement, could change.
“Once that MeToo movement came out it did spark a fire under people to come forward and say this happened to me no matter how long ago it was,” explains Meier.
She sees it as a positive step, though she’s reminded daily the most important thing is the care they give to the victim.
“We are with them on possibly the worst day of their lives. It is really important to make them feel like what they did was really important in coming forward and making them feel safe and secure,” she says.
The National Sexual Assault hotline says it saw a 57 percent increase in calls over the weekend. They say this usually happens when sexual assault stories are in the news.
If you are a victim of sexual assault, you can call the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center at 316-263-3002. Or you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE. Both are staffed 24/7.