From Del. Ariana Kelly:
This weekend the Maryland Senate passed my legislation (HB 963) to establish process for treating sexual assault survivors in EVERY hospital in Maryland.
What’s that you say, every hospital in Maryland doesn’t currently treat victims of sexual assault?
That’s true! This is an issue I’ve been working on since my days as Executive Director at NARAL Pro Choice Maryland. Only one hospital in every county is designated to provide forensic medical exams for sexual assault survivors.
In Montgomery County, under the current law only Shady Grove Hospital is fully equipped to handle victims of sexual assault. If you are raped and show up at Holy Cross, Suburban, Montgomery General, or Washington Adventist Hospital, you may not be able to get access to a sexual assault forensic exam. These exams are vital pieces of evidence if victims wish to pursue charges against their assailant and without these exams, rapists are allowed to walk free.
Showing up in the Emergency Room at these other hospitals, you might be told to get back in your car and drive yourself to Shady Grove Hospital. Or in instances of trauma, you could be taken to Suburban Hospital and then transferred to Shady Grove, all the while being advised not to bathe or use the bathroom so as to not tamper with the evidence from the rape.
Thanks to this legislation which passed both houses unanimously every hospital will now have to establish a protocol for treating victims of sexual assault.