RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It’s a growing problem that has both Democratic and Republican lawmakers coming together.
Sexual assaults on college campuses were the highlight of a meeting this week between senators that included Senator Mark Warner. The group put together aftercare kits to help victims of sexual assault who end up at the hospital and have to give up their clothes for evidence.
“Sometimes they don’t even realize that they have to give up their clothes, so they haven’t prepared to bring something else to wear home,” said forensic nurse examiner Jean Cheek.
Cheek, who works at VCU Health System, says that would often lead to victims leaving the hospital in scrubs. For the past five years, the non-profit ‘Fear 2 Freedom’ has aimed to make that time at the hospital a little easier for victims by creating kits filled with new clothes and toiletries and stuffed bear.
“So they have something to wear home and they have the opportunity to get cleaned up and they have this special bear to hold onto during the exam and it’s a source of comfort after as well,” Cheek explained.
The kit also comes with a pen and a journal, something cheek says can be a crucial tool for victims.
“Sometimes at the initial time of the assault they are so traumatized that they really don’t have a clear recollection of what happened,” Cheek said. “It’s actually the day after where they might have more clarity and having a place to write that down, it’s very helpful for them down the road.”
So far, thousands of kits have been given to victims here in Virginia and across the country. Cheek says while it may not seem like much, it makes a world of difference to the victims.
“Just know that we’re here and we’ve got you taken care of from the minute you walk through the door to the minute you leave,” Cheek added.
If you would like to help with the kits you can find more information at the organization’s website.