Week 24 – Heidi Wilke SANE/SART Survivor Program

The statistics are sobering…nearly one in six women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime (one in 33 men). Nearly 700 forcible rapes were reported in Nebraska in 2011, up 6% from 2010. Sadly, hundreds of additional cases go unreported.

Wednesday of this past week, January 30th, was the 11th anniversary of the day that Heidi Wilke was attacked, robbed and raped following a business meeting in Downtown Omaha.

Heidi vowed first to survive her rape and then to help others. Heidi and her husband Jeff, acutely aware of the special needs of sexual assault victims, helped to establish the Heidi Wilke SANE/SART Survivor Program at Methodist Hospital.

SANE/SART stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) and a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and was the first such program in the area. The Sexual Assault Response Team consists of a SANE, a physician, a victim advocate, a law enforcement officer and others as needed.

The Heidi Wilke SANE/SART Survivor Program is specially designed and equipped to provide care, comfort and dignity for victims of sexual assault.

So, on January 30th, I stopped by Methodist Hospital to learn more about the program. Chelsea, an ER nurse, provided me a brief tour of the SANE/SART exam and consultation rooms that adjoin the emergency department. I asked how often the facility is used and Chelsea said about 100 times during the year. “We’ve had as many as 26 in a month”, she said.

The SANE/SART facility is stocked with clothing, as all clothing worn by the person assaulted is retained by the police as possible evidence.

On my visit to Methodist Hospital, I also spoke with RyAnne Hastings, the Director of Development for the Methodist Hospital Foundation. RyAnne told me that the new Methodist Women’s Hospital in west Omaha also includes a Heidi Wilke SANE/SART Survivor Program.

This week’s gift is in tribute to Heidi Wilke…who is a true survivor and inspiration. As Heidi Wilke photoher husband (and my great friend) Jeff said on the 11th anniversary, “With the help of many, the Heidi Wilke SANE/SART Survivor Program came from her courage to survive.”

To learn more about the program, go to this website:


4 thoughts on “Week 24 – Heidi Wilke SANE/SART Survivor Program

  1. What a tremendous example of taking something bad and turning it around to be so much good for the far too many others who encounter the same challenges. A courageous lady and a worthwhile program.

  2. You are so great Heidi, thank you for all the positive you bring to everyone in your life and congratulations for a successful program that is able to respond to victims in a supportive and positive way after the most traumatic experience in their lives. You are loved and respected by many! I am definitely one of them! J. Blomme

  3. Life gives us all so many opportunities to serve others…. every situation no matter how horrible offers us this. However, most people never can see it or expereince it that way. Heidi and Jeff did and they do. I am proud to call them friends… Ann Cannon

  4. Thank you for supporting this important program that, unfortunately, is needed in our community. Thanks to the Wilkes and generous friends like you, the program transforms victims into survivors! Thank you, Bill!

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