Trauma upon trauma

Truro Daily News - - Front Page - BY HARRY SUL­LI­VAN

A young woman who went to the hospi­tal emer­gency room to re­port she had been raped, was given pam­phlets and told she must seek as­sis­tance at an­other hospi­tal, adding to her trau­matic sit­u­a­tion.

Pam­phlets in hand, tears rolling down her cheeks, the young woman walked slowly away from the hospi­tal emer­gency room into the early morn­ing dark­ness.

She was alone and con­fused.

“I just felt so lost,” she said, wip­ing away fresh tears as she shared her story.

“I don’t know how to ex­plain how I feel about it. I didn’t want to tell any­one that I went to the hospi­tal. It just felt like I wasn’t their prob­lem to deal with.”

The 22-year-old Truro woman did not wish to be iden­ti­fied. She was re­count­ing a re­cent visit to the emer­gency depart­ment of Colch­ester East Hants Health Cen­tre to re­port she’d been raped.

There, she was handed two pam­phlets on the sub­ject of sex­ual trauma and spoke briefly by tele­phone to a nurse at an­other hospi­tal who is with the Sex­ual As­sault Nurse Ex­am­iner (SANE) pro­gram. Be­yond that, she said she was es­sen­tially told the SANE pro­gram is not avail­able in Truro and to “just go and han­dle it your­self.”

“When I hung up the phone I was, like, what do I do now? Do I call the po­lice or…?”

The woman said she re­ceived no guid­ance and never spoke to any­one be­yond front-line staff.

“I had bruises all over me,” she said. “I hon­estly thought some­thing would be done. I didn’t even have a ride home. It would have been nice to talk to a doc­tor; I don’t know any­thing about what to do or what could’ve went wrong. Be­cause it was a sit­u­a­tion that I didn’t re­mem­ber.”

Feel­ing em­bar­rassed and ex­posed, the woman said she was of­fered nei­ther con­so­la­tion nor pri­vacy.

“I was vis­i­bly cry­ing,” she said.

“I was try­ing not to show the pam­phlets. No­body else got pam­phlets, ‘Why did she get pam­phlets? Why is she cry­ing?’” she re­mem­bered think­ing of her sit­u­a­tion.

“They didn’t even give me a sec­ond to col­lect my­self, they just kind of moved me along … tears were ba­si­cally still rolling down my face when I had to slide the door shut.”

Af­ter leav­ing the hospi­tal just past mid­night, she called her mother for help.

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