What to Expect at the Hospital

The following is a very brief description of the forensic exam or "rape kit." Remember to ask questions as you go along if you don't understand the purpose of any of the steps. AND REMEMBER you can refuse any part of the exam if you so choose.

  • Hospital staff will do everything that they can to see you as quickly as possible in a private, secluded area.
  • You should try not to use the bathroom before the exam, as this may interfere with some aspects of evidence collection.
  • You must give written consent to have the exam performed.
  • You will be asked to give a general medical history (e.g., current medications, past illnesses, etc.).
  • You will be asked to give an "Assault/Abuse History" (a very detailed description of the assault).
  • If you are wearing clothing you wore during the assault, you will be asked to give it over as evidence.
  • The nurse or doctor who is working with you will take various samples from you (such as fingernail scrapings, hair standards, and oral swabs). These are for evidence collection and to establish a difference between your DNA and any other DNA found on your person.
  • The nurse or doctor will also look at your body using a Woods Lamp—a fluorescent lamp that enables medical professionals to see evidence that canít be seen with the naked eye.
  • The final stage of the exam is a vaginal/penile exam in which the nurse or doctor checks for injury and conducts evidence collection in this area.
  • After the exam is complete, you should be permitted to wash up using toiletries provided by the hospital. The hospital should also have clothing for you to put on if you have given your own clothing over as evidence.