Aurora Sinai Medical Hospital and Aurora West Allis Memorial Hospital are the ONLY Milwaukee-area health centers that staff Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) personnel 24 hours. a day. Children's Hospital of Wisconsin staffs responders that are specific to the needs of children and youth. Every other area hospital does not staff any responders for sexual assault.
SANE responders are not only specially trained to administer rape kits, they administer STD tests, are aware of local systems of support for victims, choices for victims and are trained to work with people experiencing trauma after an assault. Hospitals are aware of the specialized service SANE responders give, and choose not to staff them at their hospitals because treating sexual assault victims is not a money-making venture.
This means you could be raped, go to the wrong hospital and be asked to go to another for care. Depending on the facility, they may, or may not, offer you cab fare to get to a hospital with SANE responders. If you are so severely injured that you cannot be moved to another facility, then a rape kit may be administered to you by a person who is untrained in how to do so, untrained in how to respond to a rape victim in crisis and untrained in the local resources available.
It is an act of courage for any victim to report their assault. Being sent to another medical facility severely increases the likelihood that a sexual assault victim will not report, or seek aid.
It is a breach of any ethic that treats patients with human respect and dignity to tell them their assault is not your concern, but try another hospital. SANE responders at a hospital are a critical part of a rape victim's treatment and a rapist's prosecution.
SANE responders should be available at every hospital. Hospitals that do not staff SANE responders must coordinate to bring those responders to meet the victim immediately upon report. We need to send a message to all Milwaukee-area hospitals - Stop sending rape victims away.
I am appalled to know that not every hospital in the Milwaukee-area would treat me, or the ones that I love, if I, or they, were a victim of sexual assault.
I understand that SANE responders must be made available to all people who report a sexual assault in a hospital. However, I do not understand how any major medical facility could ethically not provide such responders, instead opting to send rape victims elsewhere for treatment.
We are not numbers. We are all somebody's daughter, somebody's son. I demand that all hospitals coordinate care for sexual assault victims. I demand that all hospitals live up to their duty in treating all victims of violence, and treating them with human respect and dignity.