It is time to fight back against Rapists and other Criminals
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There might be a 1000 rapes for every one that gets ink in a newspaper. Often women and even a few men are too scared, embarrassed, and feel the legal system will do little to help them, the victims. Reporting the crime will allow healing to begin and could prevent countless future victims of this heinous crime. Those that falsely report rapes should be severely punished for the damage these criminals inflict as false allegations ruin lives, families, and children.
Rep. Deborah Heinrich, front, speaks as Rep. Elizabeth B. Ritter comforts her during a press conference organized by rape victim advocates and medical professionals at the Legislative Office Building. Rep. Heinrich said she is a rape victim.
(MARC-YVES REGIS I)
Mar. 13, 2007
Copyright 2007, Hartford Courant
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Legislator Recounts Rape12:58 PM EDT, March 13, 2007
BY HILARY WALDMAN, The Hartford Courant
Then state Rep. Deborah W. Heinrich, D-Madison, stepped to the microphone. She stunned a crowd of state officials, reporters and rape-victim advocates at a press conference when she announced that 20 years ago, she had been raped.
In a voice sometimes shaking but often strong, she recounted the details of a horrible night when she was a freshman at an out-of-state college and somebody she knew tore out clumps of her hair in his pursuit of her.
After the numbness, she said, "The most terrifying thought was, 'My God, what if I'm pregnant.'"
At the time, Plan B emergency contraception was not available over the counter as it is today. But Heinrich thinks of the terror of her experience and can't believe that even now, rape victims still are faced with waiting and worrying because not all hospitals offer it.
The legislature's Human Services Committee Tuesday heard testimony on a bill that would require all hospitals, Catholic and non-Catholic, to provide emergency contraception. Last year, a similar measure died in the final days of the legislative session amid strong opposition from the Catholic Church.
The church says use of the pill amounts to abortion.
The continuing reluctance of hospitals -- both Catholic and secular -- to dispense the pills has prompted women's advocates to once again push the legislature to pass a law requiring all hospitals to provide the pill as a routine part of rape examinations.
But rape counselors say that the problem is not limited to Catholic hospitals.
Since the controversy erupted last year, rape crisis counselors have been documenting hospital practices in dispensing Plan B to rape victims, said Laura Cordes, director of policy and advocacy for Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, an umbrella group representing rape crisis counselors.
In the first six months of 2006, they found that 40 percent of rape victims who were accompanied by counselors during rape examinations were not offered emergency contraception, or were not given the full dose of two pills.
``The situation has not changed and rape victims are still waiting,'' Cordes said.
Although no scientific survey was conducted, Cordes said, a variety of reasons were offered: Some hospital personnel were unaware that they could provide the pills, while others expressed reluctance to give patients the full dose of medication because while one pill is taken immediately, the second must be swallowed 12 hours later -- outside the hospital.
Although there is some uncertainty about exactly how the Plan B pill works, church leaders contend that hormones in the drug could prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, an event they equate with abortion. But medical experts say that the hormones in the pills more likely prevent pregnancy by delaying or preventing ovulation.
Regardless, advocates say, the neighboring states of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts have found a way to provide the pill to rape victims in both Catholic and non-Catholic hospitals. In Connecticut, Catholic hospitals will dispense the pill only after a woman has taken a test to ensure that she is not ovulating.