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How I Channeled Anger From My Rape to Help Push for Survivor-Led Legislation

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In New York City, hospitals are not required to report on sexual assaults. The city solely relies on police to keep track of how many people are sexually assaulted, which means a vast number of assaults can go unreported.

As a sexual assault survivor, I’m working with two other women, Alison Turkos and Deborah Spiroff, on legislation to change that. With the help of Nicole Hunt, legislative director in the office of City Council Member Stephen Levin, we’re working to find ways to improve how sexual assault victim-survivors receive care in the five New York City boroughs.

Bill LS 17965, introduced Thursday at the City Council’s stated meeting, would amend the city’s administrative code and require all city hospitals to report on the number of sexual assaults they treat and to report on what programs they offer sexual assault survivors. We’re also working on legislation that would make it mandatory for all sexual assault survivors to be fully informed of all their rights when getting medically treated for sexual assault.

“The theme for both these bills is to empower people with information,” Hunt said. “I see both these bills as an initial step to create a system for survivors that grants them more agency, grants them more power.”

I didn’t know I had rights

When I was in the hospital to report that I had been raped, everything was kind of a blur. It was 2010, seven years before the #MeToo movement went viral. I was reluctant to report the sexual assault at all, fearing that I would be treated poorly for not being an “ideal victim.”

At the hospital, I could barely process anything—the pile of pills I had to take as a precaution, some then, some in the near future; the piles of forms to fill out.

When officers of the Special Victims Unit came into the hospital room to interview me, it was even worse than I expected—the way they disparaged me was........

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