Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rape Kits: Why Plan A Cares

I am a Georgetown student who has experienced Georgetown University Hospital’s response to rape situations. I made an urgent call to the Georgetown University Hospital seeking information about the availability of rape kits. I explained to the woman who answered the phone that my friend had been raped and I was calling on her behalf in search of the resources she needed. When I asked if my friend could get a rape kit at Georgetown University Hospital, I was confronted with a harsh reality that no rape survivor should have to face. I will describe Georgetown University Hospital policies through my personal experience with this call and I hope this demonstrates that the current state of affairs is not only inadequate but disgraceful for a university hospital and a grave threat to women’s health.

The first woman who answered the phone told me that I could not get a rape kit at the Georgetown Hospital. When I explained the urgency of my friend’s situation, she suggested that I try the George Washington Hospital. After I insisted on speaking with someone else who could give me more information, I was put on hold for well over five minutes. I was astounded that I was forced to wait for that length of time right after I had explained that my friend had been raped and was seeking emergency response. When another woman came on the line, she told me that my friend would have to go to the Washington Hospital Center in order to have access to a rape kit. She did not tell me what Georgetown Hospital could do for my friend until I explicitly asked her what resources Georgetown Hospital had for rape survivors. She explained that a survivor could be medically screened but that it would not include a rape kit. This is common procedure for most university hospitals in the District of Columbia, as the Washington Hospital Center serves as the only place where rape kits are administered. However, when I told the woman that my friend needed help getting to the Washington Hospital Center (map shown below), she casually suggested that we take a taxi.

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This suggestion revealed what Plan A finds most problematic about Georgetown University Hospital’s services for rape survivors. Plan A is pointing out not only that the university does not carry rape kits, but also that it provides no services for its students to access them elsewhere. It is unconscionable to expect rape survivors to get into a taxi and ride over to an unfamiliar hospital alone. Not only does this require the student to incur the expenses of transportation to an alternate location, but it also obliges a traumatized rape survivor to put themselves into an unsafe environment without any support from the university. I expressed these concerns to the woman from the hospital and asked if there were any other options. She explained that my friend could be transported to the Washington Hospital Center by MedStar (the company that owns Georgetown Hospital). This, once again, places tremendous financial burden on rape survivors and unquestionably will discourage many survivors from accessing essential resources like rape kits and comprehensive post-trauma care.

In order to lift these burdens from access to critical health services, the Georgetown administration must advocate on behalf of its students. It must provide free transportation to and from the Washington Hospital Center in order to facilitate safe and uninhibited access to rape kits. Anything less is an affront to the health and safety of rape survivors. Plan A also believes that the University should actively distribute information about steps to accessing services for sexual assault and rape survivors. It is the University’s responsibility to ensure that this information is made public, explicit and well-circulated.

4 comments:

  1. I agree, this is appalling, and these services should certainly be available to our students.

    Until a better, permanent solution can be reached: it is my understanding that GERMS will transport students free of charge to the Washington Hospital Center. Can anyone confirm this?

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Dear Heather and Plan A Hoyas,

    Thank you for highlighting the lack of access on Georgetown's campus, both for survivors of sexual trauma and students at large. As a volunteer with the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, I wanted to chime in and offer a small bit of input regarding Washington Hospital Center's program and transportation there.

    While Georgetown should absolutely be able to offer rape kits to survivors, there is a very specific program at the Washington Hospital Center that offers a standard of care and legal frameworks for survivors that are exceptionally well-coordinated.

    There are specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE nurses)who can administer the forensic exam, ensure that evidence is locked safely away until the police pick it up, and advocate for the rights of the survivor.

    Additionally, a DCRCC Advocate will ALWAYS be sent to Washington Hospital Center, to assist the survivor in whatever she or he may need, and can offer a FREE cab service to survivors who need assistance with transportation.

    These services are designed to be a coordinated effort to best assist survivors in the immediate hours (up to 72)after their assaults. The program at WHC is one of the best in the country, and were a survivor to go to any other hospital in the District, they would be transfered to WHC.

    If anyone reading this ever needs to seek this type of care, they should call DC Rape Crisis at 202-333-7273 (TTY: 202-328-1371). For more information on why this program is run through Washington Hospital Center, or what other services DCRCC offers, please visit www.dcrcc.org

    Again, thanks for all of your advocacy work! Please know that the D.C. Rape Crisis Center is available to answer any questions at any hour.

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  4. خدمات تخزين العفش من الخدمات التى لابد ان تقم على افضل ما يرام فاذا كنت تعانى من اعمال التخزين التقلدية او تعانى من البحث الدائم عن افضل الشركات التى تساعد فى التخزين دون ان تجد افضل ما تتمناه فلا داعى للقلق من شان التخزين الان وعليم ان تتصل وتستعن بينا على الفور فى القيام بكل ما تتمناه فالشركة تعتمد على افضل الخدمات المميزه فى نقل العفش والحصول على افضل النتائج فنحن نعتمد على افضل الطرق المميزة من القيام بالبحث عن افضل المستودعات المؤمنة التى تساعد فى الوصول الى افضل النتائج فالمستودعات يتم اختيارها على حسب بعض الامكانيات التى تتوقف على حسب اختيار الخبراء وعلى حسب درجة تحمل المخازن الى الزجاج والمواد الرفيعه والاهتمام بدرجة حراره تحمل المخازن وغيرها فاذا اراد ان تقوم بكل ما تتمناه فاستعن بينا على الفور فى القيام باعمال التخزين للعفش والحصول على افضل النتائج المميزة من الحفاظ وحمايه العفش من التغيرات التى تحدث نتجة للتخزين الغير مالوف وجوده على الاطلاق .
    شركة تخزين عفش بالرياض افضل شركة تخزين اثاث بالرياض فهى لا تعتمد فقط على القيام باعمال التخزين بل تسعى الى البحث دائما عن كل ما هو مميز من اجل ان يتم الحصول على افضل النتائج فى حمايه العفش ضد الكسر او التلفيات او التغيرات التى تحدث نتيجة لاعمال التخزين التقليدية فاذا اراد ان تشعر بالتميز وتحتفظ بالاعفش المكتبى او العفش المنزلى فعليك الاستعانه بشركة بسمة الرياض افضل شركة تخزين عفش .

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