Project Stand - Faces of Rape & Sexual Abuse Survivors

Karen Coleman

Karen Coleman, 46, Yonkers, NY

Coleman's estranged husband broke into her home, punched her, tied her to the bed and raped her. He threatened to kill her if she told anyone. Coleman escaped and immediately went to a hospital where the doctor on call did not know how to handle the situation. As a nurse, Coleman knew that a detailed rape exam is one of the most important pieces of evidence in getting a rape conviction, so she talked the doctor through her own rape examination. Since then, Coleman has devoted her career to making sure that doctors and nurses know how to collect rape evidence. She is currently the head nurse and coordinator of Westchester, New York's Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, and vice president of the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Coleman's ex-husband is still serving a three-to-nine-year sentence.