The victim is not real, nor is the case. But real rapes and sexual assaults happen every day. Emergency room nurses are among the first to see the victims. As part of their sexual assault examiner course, one after another nurse took the stand in Harrison County Circuit Court to testify about a mock rape victim.
"What you give the jury on that day of trial has to be as close a picture to what you saw that night so they can get an idea of what did this person look like, what did they say, how did they say it, how did they present," Nurse Catherine Tyrney says.
Medical testimony in such cases is important. Tyrney says being a good witness serves a dual role.
"We can serve the patient that night in the emergency room but we can also serve our communities by making sure we are a good tool for the justice system."
USM nursing students watched and listened to the mock proceedings. They know that one day they too may have to take the stand.
"We do need to see this. The same program that they're working us on is gonna teach us a lot when we have to go in and actually do an assessment of patients who have been sexually assaulted and also we're learning a better appreciation for the court system," says student Dana Roan.
Roan and Tyrney say practice runs like this also give them a better idea of what kind of information a jury needs to reach a verdict.