Rape kits in every hospital in Canada

Rape kits in every hospital in Canada

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Rape and sexual assaults cause many physical and psychological injuries. It shouldn't have to be a maze and a struggle to seek for emergency medical care whether one wishes to report or not.  

In February 2017, I was drugged and raped by a stranger in Montreal. 

In the following hours, I woke up in my apartment not remembering anything. I knew that by the state of my body that something quite wrong had happened, but I didn't know what.

I managed to have two of my closest friends pick me up and bring me to the Montreal Jewish Hospital to get a rape kit exam. When my turn came to go into triage, I could barely speak and stand. I manage to mumble: "I need a rape kit."  The answer was: "We don't do that here."

The despair took me right out.

Thank goodness for my mother, who contacted my friend to let her know that I needed to go at Hotel Dieu Hospital.

Once we arrived, the nurse questioned me thoroughly to make sure my mother tongue was French and if I would have said English I would have been sent to Montreal General. This was highly confusing for me as I was someone in need of emergency care. 

I finally got my rape kit done and learned due to internal evidence that I had been raped.  

Essentially, my urban location, personal network and language determined the care I received.

A rape kit is a sexual assault forensic exam, a package of items used by medical personnel for gathering and preserving physical evidence. Usually taken soon after the assault — the sooner they occur, the more evidence can be collected. The kits are also a way to assess your healthcare needs, prevent further harm, and provide you with the needed care and tests.

Rape kits are conducted by a trained healthcare professional. They will have a title such as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFEs), or Sexual Assault Examiners (SAEs). Many hospitals and healthcare facilities do not have anyone on staff who is trained to conduct a rape kit.’ – Refinery 29

These Rape Kits or S.A.E.K.’s (Sexual Assault Evidence Kits) are part of our right to healthcare. Quality rape kits should and must be available to everyone, regardless of your sexual identity, your sexual orientation, your gender, your race, your religion, your physical disabilities, your intellectual disabilities, your age and your mother tongue. 

As a survivor, I seek to see this need met now, to see change NOW.

Join me in the call-to-action in ensuring that quality rape kits are readily available to everyone in every hospital in Canada by requesting that Minister Maryam Monsef of the Department of Women and Gender Equality (Status of Women Canada) make this a national right to healthcare matter, and work to make it happen now. 

We must seek concrete solutions for concrete change, YOU can sign and share this petition to make it clear all across Canada that our universal healthcare needs to be just that, UNIVERSAL, at all times, for everyone.

For more information:

Rape kits not available at all hospitals, sexual assault survivor warns (2018):

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/barrie-rape-kit-1.4679014

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qv5aad/canada-has-a-rape-kit-problem

A national organization dedicated to this issue: SAVE Canada: Sexual Abuse & Violence Education

https://save-canada.org/rape-kits/ 

A main resource for info-action in Canada

https://canadianwomen.org/the-facts/sexual-assault-harassment/