When a person has been raped, they must get a rape kit conducted within 72 hours of the event happening if they want physical and DNA evidence collected to report their rapist. It is best that they avoid bathing, showering, using the restroom, changing clothes and combing their hair in order for hospitals to collect the evidence. A trained SANE (sexual assault nurse examiner) conducts the test and asks the patient for consent at every part of the test. This test includes STI/STD testing, finger nail swabs, photographing physical pain such as bruises, and vaginal and anal swabs. According to SANE nurses I interviewed in the Women's and Children's Clinic in Providence, Rhode Island, the most emotionally draining and triggering part of the exam is the vaginal and anal swabbing test because the patient is forced to relive the physical aspects of their assault. The SANE nurses also recalled that many times, the patient's family brings them into the clinics for testing because they themselves are too scarred, upset or shocked to do so. Reporting rape is not easy.
Millions of rape kits go untested in the USA even though hospitals do their best to make the person who was raped feel safe and feel that their case is in good hands. People who report rape can lose their jobs and people of colour are most likely to go ignored when reporting assault. Feminist groups and individuals have been calling out governments to make procedures such as this possible, affordable and accessible.
Reporting rape and recovering from the trauma needs to always be easy, accessible and safe.