Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lawsuit Over Refusal To Do Rape Kit

From George Washington Hatchet:

Immediately after the alleged assault, she sought medical assistance at Howard University Hospital, accompanied by two witnesses, according to the complaint.

Court documents also add that she appeared intoxicated and was therefore denied a rape kit and sent home. It also states she was drifting in and out of consciousness and vomiting.

The plaintiff returned to Howard University Hospital the next morning and was again denied a rape kit - at which point the Metropolitan Police Department was notified, according to the complaint. They also said they felt a rape kit was unnecessary, according to court documents.

This lack of treatment is inexcusable and to me screams of stereotyping what "real" rape victims look or act like. When the police were finally called, it seems like this woman was seen as the real problem -- something that wanted to go away.

If she was drugged, or given a drink (or drinks) with far more alcohol than she was aware of, then sending home a woman who vomited while going in and out of consciousness could have resulted in her death.

Maybe that never occurred to the staff at Howard University Hospital and if so they are definitely negligent.

For professionals to dismiss her as if she were just a whiny drunk coed is to effectively be on the side of rapists. I wonder how much of this response is due to the belief that even if this woman was raped that a rape kit would be a waste of time and money since the owner of any DNA found would say, "It was consensual" and since the impact of her impairment would likely turn her into a non-credible witness.

So often sloppy practices which lead to injustice (never or rarely getting convictions for certain types of sexual assaults) justify more sloppy practices which in turn lead to more injustice.

Unfortunately, in certain cases it will take lawsuits to force organizations to respond properly to all rape victims. That takes funding and unfortunately many legislators don't back of their support for fighting crime with the money to effectively get that done.

hat tip: Feministing

Technorati tags:


Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:11 AM   0 comments links to this post


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home