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At MCHD, we are very sensitive to our patients

At MCHD, we are very sensitive to our patients

Apr. 6, 2022

By Mary Wade Burnside

At MCHD Clinical Services, our public health nurses start to see it happening in late summer and early fall. Young patients, often fresh off to college, come to an appointment because maybe they woke up in a strange place after a night out.

“We have mainly WVU students, or young people, leaving home for the first time, going to parties and bars,” said Jennifer Goldcamp, director of nursing at Monongalia County Health Department. 

“And then they drink too much or somebody has slipped something into their drink. They don’t remember what happened, but they know they have been sexually assaulted.”

Just to be clear, Goldcamp said, “When a person is too intoxicated and cannot adequately consent, that’s not OK. That’s not consensual sex.”

These patients are scared about pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and for those issues, MCHD Clinical Services is a great place to go.

Not only can they be tested for STIs and also get Plan B to prevent pregnancy if it’s within the correct time frame, they will be met with compassionate, non-judgmental nurses who want to help them.

“We deal with a lot of delicate situations, and we’re very sensitive to our patients,” Goldcamp said. “And all of our services are strictly confidential.”

And STI testing and treatment is free, as is the Plan B.

Of course, as LPN Kayla Sisler notes, for patients who come in right after an assault, the individual can be referred to the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center in Morgantown. A case worker can accompany them to an emergency department, where a specially trained health care worker can perform a rape exam.

“And they are able to help with emergency housing in case of domestic issues or someone who reports they are unsafe,” Sisler added.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, as recognized by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. West Virginia University will be holding events during the observance month that will educate and support members of the community. Here is a list of events and some descriptions of what they entail.

• Friday, April 8 - Do’s and Donuts of Consent Game Night
6- 8 p.m., Lincoln Hall Abe Cave
• Saturday, April 9 – Walking with Survivors (RDVIC)
3 - 4 p.m. (Registration 2:30 p.m.), Spruce Street Farmers Market Pavilion (Downtown)
• Monday, April 11 – The Clothesline Project
10 a.m. to 3 p.m., WVU Rec Center, ST4 Lot
The Clothesline Project is a visual display of voices and experiences that often go ignored. Each shirt has been decorated by a survivor or someone impacted by sexual harm to honor their strength and provide another avenue for survivors to courageously break the silence that often surrounds their experience.
• Tuesday, April 12 - Self-Care Fair
10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mountainlair Green (Rain location Mountainlair Ballrooms)
The Student Government Association, in partnership with the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the WVU Peer Advocates, Well WVU, Collegiate Recovery, RDVIC, Hearts of Gold, Office of Student Success, Campus Recreation, and WVU Office of Health and Promotions, invites the WVU community to participate in a day of education, nurturing and support that includes chair massages and other self-care options.
• Monday, April 18 – The Clothesline Project
10 a.m. to 3 p.m., WVU Downtown Library
The Clothesline Project is a visual display of voices and experiences that often go ignored. Each shirt has been decorated by a survivor or someone impacted by sexual harm to honor their strength and provide another avenue for survivors to courageously break the silence that often surrounds their experience.
• Wednesday, April 27 - Denim Day Tabling Event
Noon to 2 p.m., Mountainlair Green
This campaign began in response to a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court. A rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Help share the message that there is nothing anyone could ever do to deserve to experience sexual assault.
If you want to learn more about many different aspects of sexual violence, make time to visit some or all of these events during April. And remember, resources such as the Rape & Domestic Violence Information Center and MCHD Clinical Services are available year-round.

Mary Wade Burnside is the public information officer at Monongalia County Health Department.

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