Brenda, a 21-year-old college freshman, recently moved from Ohio to New Jersey for her first year of college. She struggled being away from her family and often felt isolated and alone.
She did not frequent local bars, however, she accepted an invitation by her classmates to have a few drinks to celebrate the end of the semester. At 4 a.m. Brenda woke up in her apartment feeling very sick, was partially dressed, and had no recollection of the events of the evening. Feeling scared and confused, she sought help at a local hospital. When Brenda arrived at the hospital, Family Service League’s Confidential Sexual Assault Advocate was dispatched to accompany the survivor through the forensic medical examination.
Brenda was also able to speak to the advocate privately about her concerns about what may have transpired the prior evening. Brenda felt confused, scared, and blamed herself for not being more careful when she was drinking at the bar.
The advocate provided Brenda with information/referrals to local support services and explained her rights and options that she had as a survivor. With the support of the advocate, Brenda consented to the sexual assault forensic examination, which included a toxicology test. The advocate held her hand throughout the entire exam. The advocate also provided Brenda with a change of clothes, undergarments, and something to eat.
At this time, Brenda chose not to report the incident to the police, but Brenda was made aware that she can make a police report at a later time.
Brenda was grateful that she had the support of the advocate and that she felt believed. The care and support of an advocate is essential to support the recovery and healing process for all survivors of sexual assault.
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