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Women Health. 1987;12(2):5-28.

The rape exam: beyond the hospital emergency room.

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  • 1Florida State University School of Social Work, Tallahassee 32306.


Data from 31 Florida post-rape examination sites reveal a number of dilemmas associated with rape exams. The sites include regular hospital ERs (N = 25), specialized sexual assault treatment centers (SATCs) on hospital grounds (N = 2), a nonhospital-based SATC, a proprietary OB/GYN clinic, a medical examiner's office, and a law enforcement crime lab. Open-ended interviews indicate that major problems with hospitals as exam sites stem from physicians' dislike of the exam and physician and hospital fears of legal and court entanglements. Prosecutors (and judges) are a major obstacle to nonphysician examiners. A challenge to rethink the post-rape exam, including where and by whom it is performed, is posed.

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