Development of a Medical
Center Rape Crisis
SHARON L. McCOMBIE
AND SUSAN PELL
Rape is a physical, social, and psychological attack upon the person. It is the fastest rising violent crime in the United States: The FBI reported a 68 percent increase in rape (from 31,000 to 51,000 cases) between 1968 and 1973, and police figures in Boston show a 43.5 percent increase between 1972 and 1973 (Federal Bureau of Investigation 1973).
Rape has been viewed primarily as a sexual rather than a violent assault. The traditional assumption is that the woman in some way invited the attack. This attitude obscures recognition of the trauma experienced by the victims and interferes with the development of adequate community and institutional resources to treat them. This is reflected in the absence or fragmentation of medical and psychological care for rape victims.
In response to this problem, a comprehensive support system for the rape victim has been developed at the Beth Israel Hospital, a metropolitan teaching facility oriented toward community medicine. Particularly in urban areas, hospital emergency rooms are the typical health care facility utilized by victims at the time of the rape. Prior to the develop