Magical Truthsaying Bastard Shadesong (shadesong) wrote,
Magical Truthsaying Bastard Shadesong

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Save SANE!

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.
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