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Stanford ER now providing rape kits, support services to sexual assault survivors

Original post made on Feb 6, 2020

People who are sexually assaulted in northern Santa Clara County will no longer have to travel to San Jose for a medical forensic exam.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 12:43 PM

Comments (7)

9 people like this
Posted by Native
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Feb 6, 2020 at 11:48 am

Appalled that this wasn't the case all along.


6 people like this
Posted by Flabbergasted
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 6, 2020 at 12:10 pm

I had no idea you'd have to go all the way to San Jose after being assaulted. I just assumed every hospital could do a rape kit. It is so outrageous to treat victims this way. I'm sorry, but with everything else a hospital is capable of treating, is it really so difficult to administer these tests?


6 people like this
Posted by Midtown Local
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 6, 2020 at 12:21 pm

@Native: Yes! This should be available in all ERs. It's basic care that someone shouldn't have to travel to a special place to get. (And, of course, the kits should be analyzed afterward.)


8 people like this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 6, 2020 at 12:31 pm

Wow! I'm shocked! How could this be that there was only one place to go for help in catching the perpetrator and providing the coordinated support women need after undergoing a nightmare? Certainly says something about priorities set in the medical field. Am glad Stanford is stepping up. It's certainly better late than never.


10 people like this
Posted by Keep improving
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2020 at 2:27 pm

@neighbor
This situation is a teachable moment. The world isn’t perfect and it changes. The people who experience a problem are usually the ones who end up pushing for solving it. I wonder whether Chantelle Miller’s experience and the spotlight it shone on the lack of local care after an assault helped make this happen? Either because of Miller herself or medical/law enforcement people who could get better leverage to solve a longstanding problem they knew of because of the case.

There is definitely a local ethos in government, especially in the school district, not to trust (even to actively block) solutions furthered by people who have suffered from a problem. Which ends up preventing problems from being solved - research shows that people who suffer a problem and stand to benefit from solving it are the ones willing to do the hard work of moving the ball. Necessity is the mother of invention. This sounds like an amazing collaboration but I agree with other posters that it’s long overdue.

The question, however, is not why wasn’t this done long ago, but rather, why don’t we as a region and a culture do a better job supporting the problem solvers? How do we avoid knee jerk circling the wagons (like in the school district) so that solutions like this happen faster when the need arises?

Stanford ER,by the way, is notoriously awful in their old-school misogynistic treatment of women, especially older and younger women. I had a visit to the ER as a younger women that was akin to an assault itself, and others that were so degrading, I have told my doctor to send me elsewhere and even then I wouldn’t go unless he spoke first with the staff so I wasn’t put through a degrading and pointless exhausting grilling intended to elicit whether I was a “hysterical” woman only there because I (Victorian-era lenses before the internet and women working etc on) had nothing better to do than be treated like an object and bankrupt my family doing it.

So, while it’s great that there are special nurses, I wonder how the training goes up against the Victorian-era misogyny that medicine is still so steeped in?

A few years ago I witnessed a woman having a probable heart attack and saw the EMT response that was professional, yet they still left thinking it was nothing. Later the woman went to the hospital and was found to have indeed suffered a heart attack. Women already suffer from a system that doesn’t identify their symptoms medically and are more likely than men by far to be sent home IN THE MIDDLE OF A STROKE. This in turn has devastating impacts on women’s lives that often medical providers don’t see.

My point is, the degrading attitudes definitely play a role in physicians being blind to atypical symptoms or dismissing women’s pain, etc. The degrading biases are common, a fact, and for sure still prevalent at Stanford ER. Just bringing in this capability for sexual assault victims, as important and laudable an accomplished as it is - thanks to all the wonderful organizations who made it happen - is not enough. Women have to feel safe from the minute they enter the ER. They should feel safe reporting a rape even if they initially feared saying anything but went to the ER for other reasons related to an assault.

Given what I have directly witnessed at Stanford over the years, they have a long way to go. I hope that continues to be improved as a part of this effort. Thanks so much to everyone who made this happen.


2 people like this
Posted by W. Reller
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 6, 2020 at 3:32 pm

The New Stanford Hospital is located at 500 Pasteur Dr, not 300-old hospital


9 people like this
Posted by Curious...
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 6, 2020 at 3:56 pm

Are these rape kits primarily for women who were sexually assaulted by men?

Will there one for male victims (i.e. assaulted by other men as well?


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