EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s been three years in the making, but the Michigan State University Sexual Assault Healthcare Program will be opening Thursday.
“We envision that this will be a place that will start the healing process in patients that we are honored to serve,” MSU Sexual Assault Healthcare Program Medical Director Sameerah Shareef said.
With blue walls and comfy couches, officials with the MSU Sexual Assault Healthcare Program say they want the space to feel comfortable.
“We wanted it to feel like when survivors come in they’re not a very sterile medical type space but a comfortable type space,” Center for Survivors at MSU Director Tana Fedewa said.
Officials say they’re also working to make sure they’re patient focused.
“They can come to get the care they need and it will be directed by them, it will be what they want to have happen,” said Shareef.
Fedewa says they will also give survivors options, like to have samples collected for a sexual assault kit, decide on calling the police or just come in for an exam.
“We’re not required to call the police when someone comes, so if somebody goes to the hospital for an exam, the police will automatically be called… people can actually come in and get their medical treatment and get their needs met and then decide later on if they want to release the kit,” Fedewa added.
It’s also free and funded by the Victim of Crimes Act Fund.
“We didn’t want to bill insurance, we know that’s a huge barrier for college students to have to go a hospital and potentially their parents finding out that they had a sexual assault exam, or not being able to pay the co-pay” said Fedewa.
You’ll also find a lot of teal birds in and around the facility:
“I think it’s kind of a beautiful symbolic icon and what we’ve done is put it on all of the signs and parking spots and pretty much you’ll find it all throughout the building so that when people get here that they’ve arrived at a place that’s going to take good care of them,” said Fedewa.
The program is located on the north side of campus in the Student Affairs and Services building.
It’s not just MSU students who can benefit from the program. The doors are also welcome to any in Ingham, Clinton or Eaton County. No one will be turned away.
“If someone comes here and they’re in another community and have been sexually assaulted within the last five days, they’re going to get treatment,” Fedewa added.