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Oklahoma Rape Victim Turned Away From Hospital

Oklahoma Rape Victim Turned Away From Hospital

An Oklahoma mother brought her daughter to a local hospital after she was raped only to be turned away and refused help by a doctor, purportedly because the hospital lacked the staff to properly process the victim’s claims and injuries. Welcome to the reality of processing sexual assault crimes in GOP-land.

The woman and her daughter were reportedly turned away because the hospital did not have any nurses who conduct rape exams on staff. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are specially trained professionals who deal only with the delicate process of conducting rape exams. The SANE program is coordinated through the YWCA and is a collaboration with local law enforcement, the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office and public health officials. The collaborative effort is designed to ensure evidence is properly collected and stored without re-traumatizing the victim and ensuring the most effective prosecution of the perpetrator possible.

But programs like that can only work when there’s the resources behind them and in support of the mission. When that doesn’t happen, rape kits go uncollected, languish in processing, and evidence stales. Perpetrators go free and victims are left without any justice. Thanks to Republicans continued assault on sexual assault prevention and victim support services, SANE nurses must rotate time at different hospitals around the Oklahoma City metro-area. Which means when this victim needed one she had to transfer hospitals, further delaying the processing of her claim and any evidence that could be used in prosecution.

In this case the doctor involved refused to conduct any exam, nor would he dispense any emergency contraception. The hospital issued a statement grounding those decisions in the need to coordinate through the SANE program. It could also be that this doctor had a moral objection to treating rape victims and dispensing emergency contraception, and thanks to abusive expanses of the conscience-clause by the right, simply refused to deal with her. Either way it’s a lose-lose for rape victims who now face the prospect of looking for treatment after an assault only to be turned away because of a lack of resources or because of  religious objections.

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Photo from KOMUnews via flickr.

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232 comments

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5:51AM PDT on Aug 15, 2013

Bull-Shit! The GOP had nothing to do with this... Husan Obama and his health care should be blamed for the lack of resources.

8:13AM PST on Feb 21, 2013

what an unforgivable thing to do, she should have been helped, at least referred to a hospital that could help her.

1:55PM PST on Dec 30, 2012

A little thoughtful compassion and comfort would've helped!

10:57AM PDT on Sep 29, 2012

This is in line with GOP principles of women Health Care. A compelling reason why voters must take heed what Romney's openly stated to his wealthy friends, " that he doesn't care about the 47% of our citizens". Followed on CNN by Mary Matalin, GOP political strategist, that the 47% Romney was refering to are parasites. Folks these are American citizens tax payers in one form or another that are considered as parasites. Remember that "what is uttered impromptu derives from the state of consciousness". This my friends are the principles thoughts of the GOP if you are in need of help due to unemployment or not richly blessed as they are,

9:01PM PDT on Sep 27, 2012

This story is very disheartening. After going through such an ordeal, and to be turned away? What is this world coming to?

3:26PM PDT on Aug 25, 2012

I feel I was treated well after my assault. The rape kit was not pleasant, and I def consider it traumatizing, but no one in my place could have gotten a better nurse.

6:17PM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

Infuriating!

8:47PM PDT on Jun 11, 2012

wow! sounds more like an INSANE program! poor girl!

1:11AM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

Another point needs to be addressed, based on my 23 years in law enforcement. Someone commented that all hospitals have rape kits. Not true.

Some of those that don't have a (Brand name) Rape Kit have developed their own, abbreviated, less expensive versions that may not have any instructions.

The (Brand name) kits are time sensitive. They have an expiration (use by) date on them. They are expensive to keep replacing, particularly the unused ones. In these days of tight budgets departments may opt not to fund these. Besides that, our state crime lab required more specimens than listed on the Rape kit instructions. Hopefully, with the improvements in DNA testing, the kit required sample quantities will suffice.

So, whether or not a hospital ER has these kits at all, may be up to grant funding at local rape crisis centers and women’s shelters.

Ultimately, it may come down to an officer or detective knowing what to collect, having the tools to collect it, and perhaps having to provide those tools and a list of what to collect to medical personnel.

A potential complication is that the officer needs to be in the examination room during the evidence collection process because the officer has to be able to testify as to who the evidence was collected from and by whom. He/ She cannot assume that the only people in the exam room were the medical person and the victim.

If the officer waits outside the exam room during the collection and doesn’t witness th

1:09AM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

Another point needs to be addressed, based on my 23 years in law enforcement. Someone commented that all hospitals have rape kits. Not true.

Some of those that don't have a (Brand name) Rape Kit have developed their own, abbreviated, less expensive versions that may not have any instructions.

The (Brand name) kits are time sensitive. They have an expiration (use by) date on them. They are expensive to keep replacing, particularly the unused ones. In these days of tight budgets departments may opt not to fund these. Besides that, our state crime lab required more specimens than listed on the Rape kit instructions. Hopefully, with the improvements in DNA testing, the kit required sample quantities will suffice.

So, whether or not a hospital ER has these kits at all, may be up to grant funding at local rape crisis centers and women’s shelters.

Ultimately, it may come down to an officer or detective knowing what to collect, having the tools to collect it, and perhaps having to provide those tools and a list of what to collect to medical personnel.

A potential complication is that the officer needs to be in the examination room during the evidence collection process because the officer has to be able to testify as to who the evidence was collected from and by whom. He/ She cannot assume that the only people in the exam room were the medical person and the victim.

If the officer waits outside the exam room during the collection and doesn’t witness th

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