Establishment of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania as a Rape-Designated Hospital

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    Division of Public Safety, Penn Police, the University of Pennsylvania, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
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    Penn Consortium of Undergraduate Women (PCUW) Steering
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In light of the two recently reported sexual assaults that occurred on and near the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) campus, we, the undersigned, believe that it is necessary to establish the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) as a rape-designated center, in order to provide proper medical assistance to survivors of sexual assault in the West Philadelphia area.

TIMELINE OF RECENT REPORTS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND RESPONSES
Within the past month, two cases of rape were reported at the University of Pennsylvania. In response to those incidents, a Sexual Violence Speak Out was held.

1. On the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009, a female student at the University of Pennsylvania reported being raped early that morning at an unregistered fraternity party on Penn's campus. The student was not acquainted with her assailant.

2. On the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009, another female Penn student "reported that she had been raped in a residence on the 200 block of S. 39th Street at about 2 a.m. Sunday," according to an article published by the Daily Pennsylvanian (10/1/09). The student was acquainted with her assailant.

3. On the evening of Oct. 6, 2009, One-in-Four Penn Chapter executed a Sexual Violence Speak Out on Penn's Campus. This event provided a forum in which survivors of sexual assault and their allies could voice concerns about the recent reports, as well as share experiences and support one another. The undersigned acknowledge and applaud the efforts of One-in-Four Penn Chapter both to denounce on-campus violence and to support survivors of sexual assault.

4. It is also important to note that, on Dec. 19, 2008, two female Penn students were victims of a home invasion at 44th and Spruce Street. The attacker then sexually assaulted both women over the course of several hours.

DATA ON FREQUENCY OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND REPORTED SEXUAL ASSAULT

General:
* One out of every four women is sexually assaulted during her lifetime. One of every ten men is sexually assaulted during his lifetime. (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network)
* In general, rape is tremendously under-reported; 60\% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police, according to a statistical average of the past 5 years (Bureau of Justice Statistics. Rape and Sexual Assault: Reporting to Police and Medical Attention. 1992-2000.)
* 1 in 12 college men admit to acts that meet the legal definitions of rape. Yet, few of these men identify themselves as rapists (One-in-Four)
* People of both sexes can be perpetrators as well as victims of sexual assault.

At Penn and in Philadelphia, PA:
* On Penn's campus alone, the number of forcible sex offenses reported increased from 5 in 2008 to 11 in 2009 (Division of Public Safety).
* Numbers of rapes reported by the Philadelphia Police Departments Uniform Crime Report: (data from WOAR)
In 2004 1,001
In 2005 1,024
In 2006 - 960.

CURRENT RAPE-DESIGNATED HOSPITALS IN PHILADELPHIA, PA
Only two hospitals in the City of Philadelphia currently have the adequate personnel and tools for a full medical and forensic evaluation and treatment after sexual assault:

1. Jefferson Hospital Sexual Assault Center (215-955-6840)
Address: 111 S 11th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107-5084

2. Episcopal Hospital at Temple University (215-427-7287)
Address: 100 E Lehigh Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125-1098

SO, WHAT HAPPENS TO A RAPE SURVIVOR IN OUR AREA?

Because the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is not currently a rape-designated center, HUP personnel are not equipped to provide medical attention or a forensic examination. All people assaulted on or near campus are transported to Jefferson Hospital or Episcopal Hospital. Members of the Special Services Unit, who are professionally trained to assist sexual assault victims, will accompany the victim. Once at either Jefferson or Episcopal, victims will receive a medical exam and emergency contraception, and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) will collect forensic evidence for the police as well as treat for sexually transmitted diseases.

ARGUMENT AND RATIONALE

The two existing rape-designated hospitals located in the City of Philadelphia cannot adequately serve all of Philadelphia's communities.

In addition to everyday occurrences of sexual assault, college campuses provide a unique set of circumstances under which sexual violence is carried out. Students are often unaware of the myriad behaviors that fall under the umbrella of sexual violence -- not only stranger rape, but also rape by an acquaintance or partner, coercion, etc. They are likewise unaware of what constitutes consent in a sexual encounter -- in short, that "no means no," and that mind-altering substances such as alcohol or drugs render 'consent' precarious.

While the sheer volume of reported rapes in the City of Philadelphia is enough to warrant an additional rape-designated hospital, geography is even more alarming: Episcopal Hospital and Thomas Jefferson Hospital are both located east of the Schuylkill River. The shortage of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) in these two hospitals in Philadelphia also compromises the ability to provide patients with timely exams. For affiliates of Penn, affiliates of neighboring colleges and universities, and residents of West Philadelphia neighborhoods, a rape-designated hospital in the West Philadelphia area would minimize the trauma of rape survivors; they would no longer be required to travel outside of the West Philadelphia area to secure proper treatment.

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Based on the above data and the concerns of the student body (evidenced by the presence at the Oct. 6 Sexual Violence Speak Out, as well as the concerns voiced in formal and informal settings all over Penn's campus), THE UNDERSIGNED RESPECTFULLY AND EARNESTLY REQUEST:

That the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania identify and allocate necessary funds for rape kits and personnel training;

That Penn and HUP solicit the support of the Philadelphia Police Department for an additional rape-designated hospital in Philadelphia;

That HUP is equipped with the resources necessary to provide all area rape survivors (to include not only University of Pennsylvania affiliates, but also affiliates of Drexel University, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, as well as residents of West Philadelphia neighborhoods, etc.) with the option of forensic examinations;

That the Division of Public Safety, in collaboration with the Penn Consortium of Undergraduate Women, Penn Women's Center, and any other interested Penn institutions or student organizations, host a presentation regarding the resources available following an incident of sexual assault;

That the University of Pennsylvania community become and remain tangibly committed to providing resources to rape survivors in the Penn and West Philadelphia communities.