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Health Prog. 1988 Sep;69(7):68-70, 72.

Rape crisis program helps restore dignity and control.


A rape victim often finds herself in a hospital emergency room before she even has a chance to think about what happened, how she feels, or what she needs. Emergency rooms are not equipped to help restore the victim's feelings of safety, dignity, and control over her life. To remedy that situation, St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center of New York instituted the Rape Crisis Program in 1977. The program, staffed by two professional social workers, an administrative assistant, and a student doing field work, offers counseling as an enabling, healing process in which the client actively participates. Two aspects of the counseling are particularly important: providing a perspective on the recovery process and helping the survivor discuss details of the assault that she would not want to tell anyone else. Volunteers assist victims in the emergency room at night and on weekends after completing eight training sessions of 2 1/2 hours each. Readings, discussion, and role playing help trainees understand the fear, anger, and shame that sexual assault victims experience. Sometimes victims return to help others by becoming volunteers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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