MCH’s SANE program growing to help sexual assault and trafficking victims

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 9:53 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - The Medical Center Health System Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program is growing in size.

Their focus? Providing comprehensive health care to survivors of sexual assault and trafficking.

A program SANE Medical Director Rebecca Diaz says is under served in a very high risk community.

“This is kind of a first step for them to feel like I can start living again, I can be in control of my body no one else is allowed to touch it or do something to it that I don’t allow and we start that healing process here,” said Diaz.

Odessa is centered near the 1-10 / I-20 corridor that has extensive human trafficking and SANE Nurse Jessica Aguilar says the problem is growing.

“Between here, Fort Worth and Lubbock is kind of like a triangle so girls are easily moved throughout this area because of the oil field people are coming and going because of the oil field people don’t have roots here so they don’t have to settle down so it’s easy to come and go as they please,” said Aguilar.

Aguilar says right now they’re seeing a lot of 14 to 17-year-old girls, but their work is not limited to just girls; they help both men and women of all ages.

The nurses are specially trained to collect evidence if the cases do go to court and work with the victims.

“We also offer treatment for any sexually transmitted diseased, we offer HIV prophylaxis if needed and pregnancy prophylaxis,” said Diaz.

SANE even connects victims with counseling, homes, and new clothes if needed, all while doing their best to help the victims heal, with the help from local organizations like the Crisis Center of West Texas and Harmony Home.

“It’s a group effort that we’re one small step of but we are passionate to try to help as a team in this community provide the best care we can for these victims,” said Diaz.

MCH serves a wide range of people from those crossing the border to people coming from all over West Texas

Diaz says it takes everyone involved to help these victims.

“It takes the family member who realizes the kid doesn’t seem right, he seems scared. It takes the law enforcement to be like something doesn’t seem right about this situation,” said Diaz.