Procedures and options offered by Sexual Assault Response Team

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By Caroline Rosacker

Every 98 seconds someone is sexually assaulted. One in two women, one in five men and one in two trans-identifying individuals experience some form of sexual violence. 

One in six women and one in 33 men experience a completed or attempted rape, and one in four girls and one in six young men are sexually abused before the age of 18. These statistics are staggering. 

Each sexual abuse survivor has their own personal and private experience and response to their assualt. Feelings of powerlessness, loss of control, emotional numbness, denial, disturbed sleep, flashbacks, guilt accompanied with self-blame, embarrassment and shame, loss of confidence, mood changes, low self-esteem, depression, fear, anxiety, hostility, anger, alienation and isolation, are all direct results of a sexual assault. 

The primary mission of the Northeast Iowa Rural Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Program is to meet the needs of sexual assault/abuse survivors by providing a quick, compassionate, culturally sensitive, ethical, and comprehensive response and treatment by highly-trained advocacy, medical, and criminal justice professionals. 

SART members are trained to provide specialized sexual assault care. They are compassionate and caring individuals who will provide the assistance needed to individuals after an attack. 

Sexual abuse definition

Sexual abuse is defined as: 

The sexual act is done by force or against the will of another. 

The consent or submission of the victim is caused by threats of violence. 

The victim is under the influence of a drug inducing sleep or otherwise in a state of unconsciousness. 

 The victim is suffering from a mental defect or incapacity which precludes giving consent. 

The victim lacks the mental capacity to know the right and wrong of conduct in a sexual matter

What is a sexual assault kit?

DNA evidence from a sexual assault crime can be collected from your body, clothes or other personal belongings. 

Individuals may choose to have a sexual assault forensic exam, commonly known as a "rape kit." Evidence gathered in this manner preserves possible DNA evidence and helps the assault victim receive the necessary medical care they need. 

Reporting options 

There are three options available in reporting an assault crime. 

Victims can choose to report the crime immediately to the police and have evidence collected.

They can choose not to report the crime but SART will make sure they are given the option to receive the medical and emotional support they need. 

Assault victims can also choose to collect evidence, but not report the crime. This option gives the individual time to decide if they want to report the crime or not. With this options the collected evidence will be used at the discretion of the local police department or sheriff's office. However, they do not have to report the crime. 

Those needing immediate help

If victims need immediate help they can call:

Call 911 if  in immediate danger. 

To report a crime call the direct line of the Clayton County Sheriff's Department at (563) 245-2422 

 Victims may also call the sexual assault crisis line which is available 24 hours a day at 888-557-0310.

Visit a medical center

Individuals may visit a medical facility to have trained personnel evaluate injuries, perform a sexual assault kit and receive sexually transmitted infection treatment. At anytime during this process individuals can stop, pause or skip part of the kit. All procedures performed at a medical center are free and confidential. 

Victims have rights

They have the right to have an advocate present during all steps of the process.

They have the right to report the incident to the police. 

They have the right to a free medical examination, free sexual assault kit and STI treatment.  

SART has a non-crisis e-mail/website available a or 

SART has rural locations in: Clayton, Allamakee, Benton, Buchanan, Bremer, Chickasaw, Delaware, Fayette, Howard, Jones and Winneshiek.  

Urban SART in Northeast Iowa is located in Black Hawk, Dubuque, and Linn Counties.

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