Rape response coverage had improved greatly in Cumberland County over the past 6 years. Fayetteville NOW works with Rape Crisis of Cumberland County and with the police department special task force on getting the rape kits that had been sitting around across the state counted, and taking care of rape victims. Fayetteville NOW recognized Deanne Gerdes, the Executive Director of Rape Crisis, and Fayetteville Police Lt. John Somerindyke for their work in improving the situation. The rape victims in Fayetteville used to be able to depend on special nurses to take special care of them during the 4-7 hour process of collecting data for rape kits. The sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) nurses were available 24 hours, 7 days a week at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, and have a wealth of special skills that these survivors need. Those SANE nurses are no longer employee at Cape Fear Valley in Fayetteville, as reported by the Carolina Public Press on January 25, as part of an investigation of SANE nurse availability around the state. No one is ensuring they are available around North Carolina. This is part of a two part investigation, with followup.
Deanne Gerdes was quoted in the article as saying, “There was always 24-hour coverage. It was a team effort, between law enforcement, advocacy, health care and the DA’s office. It was a great team.” Over the past year they noticed response getting worse, but they never dreamed that the Fayetteville Hospital would get rid of all of the SANE nurses!
In April, Fayetteville NOW President Pam Carver sent a polite letter to the Medical Center asking about the lack of SANE nurses. To her shock and dismay, she received an extremely snarky response from a lawyer associated with Cape Fear Valley Medical Center is at “Paying for sexual assault nurse examiners in NC.” Carolina Public Press covered that too.
Know Anyone Being Charged for Rape Kit Processing? Know anyone turned down from getting a rape kit?
The reporter for Carolina Public Press who is covering the lack of SANE nurses and oversight in NC wants to hear about any rape survivors being charged for the processing of their rape kits. As you may remember, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center had charged their rape survivors in 2019 – https://abc11.com/rape-cape-fear-valley-health-medical-center-crisis-of-cumberland-county/5868116/. You can reach Kate Martin at kmartin at carolinapublicpress.org.
Since there aren’t SANE nurses in most hospitals around the state, especially outside of large cities, it is likely that rape kits aren’t being processed in some cases. If you know anyone who was turned down from getting a rape kit done, please contact Kate Martin for that too.
Thanks to Kate Martin and Carolina Public Press for shining the light on these major problems. Please mention or share to others who may know about rape survivors being charged for the processing of their rape kits so they can contact investigative journalist Kate Martin at Carolina Public Press.