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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Save SANE! 
24th-Nov-2009 09:27 am
One Person can Make a Difference
At our meeting last night, we heard more about what the cuts to the SANE program mean for Boston-area survivors of rape and sexual assault.

This is worse than I'd thought.

With 66% of the budget cut? SANE cannot operate.

Starting December 1, 50% of services will be eliminated.

Starting January 1? SANE is dismantled.

No no no.

The Boston Herald has a great article that outlines what the SANE program does and why it's so necessary. Please go read that.

I went along with a dear friend-as moral support-when she was called to a hospital ER where her TEN year old daughter had been taken after being raped. This little girl had never even had a PAP test before. She did not have a clue as to the testing-& the extent of same-that was about to befall her. She was bruised & beaten, had severe vaginal tearing etc...She was screaming and crying and in shock. Yet, because of the SANE nurses and how methodically and delicately they handled this girl, how they explained everything to her and her mom, this little girl endure the testing. FIVE HOURS of methodical testing, labeling of evidence, swabbing this & that etc...bagging articles of clothing etc...These SANE nurses are TRAINED to understand the importance of the "chain of evidence". They delicately, compassionately made both the mom & daughter understand that what she allowing them to do would help to find AND convict the SOB who had raped her. And, in this case, it did.

No such confidence can be realized or even expected if rape victims are resigned to the haphazard, repeatedly interrupted, cold & impersonal and harried & frazzled atmosphere of an emergency room staff who have neither the time, energy nor-often times-the inclination to focus on the evidence collecting detail that a rape kit/examination demands. And any even reasonably intelligent defense attorney would cut such obtained evidence to shreds in a heartbeat.

If you've ever visited and ER before you KNOW how it feels to sit and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. BEFORE you even get into a treatment room. Then you wait, and wait, and wait some more. Then a nurse comes in and asks what's the issue. He or she gives you a cursory once over. Then a lab tech comes in & takes some blood work. Then one-maybe two-doctors come in & examine you etc....How confident would you be about the "chain of evidence" if it were YOUR daughter, niece, grandchild, spouse, mother, grandmother even laying there screaming, crying, beaten & bruised and in shock?

We cannot lose this program, you guys. We cannot.

And without SANE, we could lose a big part of our medical advocacy program. As it is, when a rape survivor goes to the hospital, a SANE is paged; our medical advocates are on the same pager system. SANEs and medical advocates live within half an hour of the hospital. They show up double-quick and are with the survivor through the whole process, the SANE taking evidence and the advocate helping the survivor, who's almost invariably in shock, navigate the whole thing. We lose SANE, we lose that pager system, and we have to reply upon ER personnel to maybe call - or we have to station advocates at the ER for their entire shift. And as dedicated as BARCC volunteers are, how many people do you think can give up multi-hour chunks of their week to sit in the ER just in case?

This is the difference between a highly praised program that's been running for a dozen years and resulted in a 90% conviction rate for cases that are pursued...and a broken chain of evidence and a crowd of impersonal half-trained people re-traumatizing the survivor.

Go here for a sample letter to send to Governor Patrick and your state representatives, and phone numbers as well. Please. If you do nothing else for me, do this. We have just a few days to save SANE.

And please, please, spread this info around! We need to reach as many people as possible.
24th-Nov-2009 02:45 pm (UTC)
If it's not one thing, it's another. Crazy and stupid.

letters written. It gave me a chance to object about the upcoming fight we'll have on the national level on the sh*t we're dealing with health "care." Like they care. ... OK. Rant contained for the moment.
24th-Nov-2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
Amen on all of it. And thank you. *hug*
24th-Nov-2009 02:49 pm (UTC) - also
short and to the point pointer in my FB, too, to BARCC page. I've noted that LJ is not as effective as it once was. That's a different rant.
24th-Nov-2009 02:52 pm (UTC) - Re: also
Yep, I'm spreading the word on FB and Twitter, too. (Are you on Twitter? @barcc is!)
24th-Nov-2009 02:54 pm (UTC) - Re: also
negative on the twits. I have to draw the line somewhere.
24th-Nov-2009 02:55 pm (UTC)
24th-Nov-2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
24th-Nov-2009 03:04 pm (UTC)
Email sent, signal boosted; I'll be calling as well when I have a chance.

(I say do both: call, because it shows that you're serious; email, because it lets you make a real argument but will arrive more quickly than a paper letter.)
24th-Nov-2009 03:09 pm (UTC)
Tweeted and RTed.

24th-Nov-2009 04:54 pm (UTC)
Sent an email last week when you posted email addresses and information. Also sent thank you notes as a soon-to-be resident of the state. I actually got a non-form-letter response back from one of the three reps. I didn't expect responses back from any of the above, but it did let me know that these letters do get read and make a difference.
24th-Nov-2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
I wrote another letter to Rep. Pat Jehlen, who is likely to be sympathetic.
25th-Nov-2009 02:44 am (UTC)
Since I don't live in the area I didn't write a letter. I did, however, pass along your post to others.


I *really* hope they save SANE. Apparently there's a couple other bills up, something about restraining orders and stalking and another about antidiscrimination for queer and transfolk, I think.
25th-Nov-2009 02:47 am (UTC)
Yep! We're more optimistic about those; they don't cost money, so it's been easier to get votes on them.
25th-Nov-2009 02:55 am (UTC)
I retweeted!
25th-Nov-2009 05:52 am (UTC)
Our state budget is severely screwed. We've already cut extremely important things, and if we don't raise the income tax, we'll continue doing so. Whether SANE does or doesn't get these cuts, something will, and there's really no way to avoid deep damage at this point, whatever gets cut. I believe that every call to a Massachusetts legislator asking to save any state service or program or restore any funding to anything, must come with a request to raise the income tax. The only other option is for all of us with good causes to fight against each other for funding, and for all of us to lose anyway.

Please, when you make these calls to our legislators, demand that they raise the income tax.

Please, when you encourage anyone else to make calls of this sort, request that they demand the same.
25th-Nov-2009 02:53 pm (UTC)
Signal boosted, as I don't live in MA. I hope and pray that it can be saved - programs like this are critical. :(

*hugs* and love.
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