Sunday, January 07, 2007

"I Was Raped"

If you come into the Emergency Department with a chief complaint of sexual assault many things will occur.

First the police will be notified and they will come and interview you. Second, an evidentiary collection for sexual assault will be performed along with a standard exam. Finally, you will be offered counselling, pregnancy prophylaxis, and STD prophylaxis.

In the course of the evaluation it is necessary for me to ask you what happened and to record it in the medical record. My job is to be a medical detective; the police do the police-work.

Now I'm well aware of the hot-potato nature of this topic, but I don't care anymore really about what the latest definition of "rape" is or whether it is a crime of power, anger, hatred, or sex (or some combination of these).

Guess what? With the obvious exception of someone slipping you a mickey and sexually assaulting you while you are drugged, going out with your friends, getting hammered, meeting some guy, dancing with him, then waking up in a strange room with your pants off, a pounding headache, and a vague recollection that you may have had sex does not constitute rape. It's merely stupid.

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