Sexual Assault Clinic Receives $250,000

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

"It's like being shot in the chest, with no exit wound. And the bullet is bouncing back and forth, back and forth, back and forth inside of them emotionally."

That's how forensic nurse Leann Holland, program director of SANE, describes sexual assault. And for mid-Michigan sexual assault victims, the discomfort continues when they're examined in a tiny, cramped room at Sparrow-- the only sexual assault unit in the area.

"A lot of times, there are parents in the room with a child, or advocates, doctors and nurses," Holland says. "There are too many people in the room. We have to worry about cross contaminating the evidence."

But at the Breslin Center Thursday night, Sparrow organization "Women Working Wonders" and the MSU Women's Basketball Team presented $250,000 to SANE-- money that was specifically raised to create a new SANE examiner's room, as well as two private women's emergency rooms at Sparrow.

"We will have a lot more space, more privacy and a lot more comfort," says Holland. "Rather than being cramped in a little closet like now, we'll have a nice, big, spacious room with a bathroom attached and a shower."

"It's not only going to help Sparrow-- it's going to help families," explains Women Working Wonders member Alexandra Wiesner.

The SANE clinic treats about 400 people per year, but that's only about 10 percent of the actual number that are assaulted in the area annually. Holland hopes the new room will help more victims come forward.

"More women and children and men will feel comfortable knowing we have specialized services and care. Since they've been through horrible experiences, we want to help any way we can."

"With proper space and accomodations, you can do a better job," echoes Sparrow president Dennis Swan.

Construction has just begun on the new rooms. Holland hopes they'll be finished by the end of this year. In total, the rooms wil cost $150,000.

"This money will go a long way," she says-- a long way on a very long road to recovery.


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