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Healing process - Odessa American: News

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Healing process

Odessan becomes SANE Nurse to help sexual assault victims

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Posted: Sunday, December 1, 2019 8:00 am

Odessan Krystle Alexander found her calling while she was treating patients as an emergency room nurse in downtown Dallas.

Alexander saw everything from gunshot wounds to children being trafficked while she was working at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

The 33 year old said she wanted to not only assist sexual assault victims, but continue to help them heal after the sexual abuse ends, so she began her SANE training at the hospital in 2016 and was certified in 2018.

“The best part about this job is where I saw the other people — domestic violence, child abuse, burns, a lot of death — you don’t see what happens after when they leave,” Alexander said. “In this side of things, I get to see what happens after. I get to see what happens to the families and the children. Sometimes it’s not the best outcome. Sometimes you don’t get a conviction. Sometimes they can’t even take it to court. Sometimes people commit suicide, or the perpetrators will commit suicide.

“Sometimes they heal and they get justice and they move on with their lives. For those few people, it’s satisfying enough to keep going on with it.”

In June, Alexander accepted her position to be a SANE Nurse and Unit Director at Medical Center Hospital.

Alexander assists sexual assault victims from across West Texas. She said a majority of the people she interviews have either been sex trafficked or are children.

Since arriving in Odessa, Alexander said the caseload for sexual assault victims at MCH have doubled. She said there can be 16 cases a month, but there can also be 30 cases in a day.

Between the Odessa Police Department and the Ector County Sheriff’s Office 122 people from January to September have been arrested on sexual assault charges. OPD has arrested 106, while ECSO is at 16.

In OPD’s uniform crime report, sexual assaults fall under rape. The number of rape charges from last year from January to September was 88. That’s an increase of 20 percent.

“I feel positive about being here, because I feel like this is a very large area that is underserved,” Alexander said.

Alexander explained that the SANE exam begins with a quick interview to figure out if the person has any bodily harm that requires medical attention immediately and whether they want to report to the police department or not. She said there’s always an option whether to report or not.

The interview continues with specifics about when the last assault was and if the assault was reoccurring. Alexander said those specifics can help the nurse determine if there’s forensic evidence. She said the interview continues with more questions, photographs or more forensic evidence. Once the interview is over, a detective or a person with the Crisis Center of West Texas will help them with the legal part and the healing part.

“As a nurse, I would say make it immediately or as soon as possible, because we can collect more evidence and it’s more fresh in their mind,” Alexander said. “Whenever they are ready and who they are going to outcry or how they are going to outcry are never the same. It could be a school teacher. It could be a principal. It could be a mom, dad, aunt or uncle.”

Odessa, TX

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