SAFE Program empowers sexual assault victims

Posted at 7:49 PM, Apr 14, 2016

Imagine you, your child or your friend has been sexually assaulted.

What would you do? Where would you go?

At GBMC, there’s a place called the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) Program, which provides services to sexual assault victims free of charge.

Proceeds from the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, a men’s march to raise awareness about sexual violence against women, will help benefit the SAFE Program and allow it to remain a free service for patients.

In every room, a small bag of tissues sits on the exam table, a reminder of the countless tears that have fallen there.

“We care for the victims of sexual assault, rape and domestic violence, but when I started doing this job I was surprised how young our population is," said Laura Clary, clinical program manager at the SAFE Program.

She says a big part of their job is giving victims back control. “We let them know we are here to help them,” she said. “They have control of everything that happens to them from that point on. We call in a victim advocate for every single patient that comes in.”

When a victim comes in, nurses conduct a complete evaluation and provide necessary services including patient assessment, the collection of forensic evidence and treatment.

Through donations, SAFE also provides patients with new clothes and toiletries if they shower before leaving. Clary says getting out into the community and educating young people is also an important part of the program.

During the 2013-2014 school year, GBMC’s SAFE Program presented to more than 1100 students in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

"One of the big initiatives we have is getting out into the Baltimore County high schools, and some city schools and actually giving a presentation about safe dating and safe boundaries,” she said.

See more from the ABC2 special Community in Crisis: Violence Against Women:

Rape crisis and recovery centers in Maryland

Woman uses her own experience with rape to help others heal

Erin's Law aims to educate K-12 students about sexual assault, sexual abuse

How to talk to your child about sexual assault

Lethality Assessment Program used to identify potentially deadly relationships

Sexual abuse survivors shut down North Ave with The Monument Quilt

Advocate fights to end street harassment through local non-profit

INFOGRAPHIC: Sexual violence against women by the numbers

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