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April 17, 2014 Volume 35, No. 27

Health options for sexual assault victims

An audience of mostly young women attended the Sexual Awareness Medical Panel April 10 at the Women’s Center. The event was part of MU’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Three panelists answered questions related to the medical part of sexual and domestic assaults. They talked about helpful resources in Columbia, best ways to help someone who has experienced an assault and psychological hardships the victims face.

Lesli Briggs, a sexual assault nurse examiner at University Hospital, said that the sexual assault clinic at the hospital performs more than 100 sexual assault exams every year. The exam is provided to help the victim of sexual or domestic violence. 

Tammy Hickman, a former hospital advocate for True North, and Dominique Malebranche, a doctoral student interning at True North, discussed the psychological problems for sexual assault victims and their family and friends. True North is a Columbia organization that helps sexual assault victims. 

The three panelists agreed that too much effort to help a victim can make him or her feel more frightened. Listening with an open mind provides better support, Briggs said.

For more information on how to help sexual assault victims, visit

— JeongAn Choi