THE ROLE OF THE PSYCHIATRIST
It is only recently that rape trauma has been considered an area in which psychiatrists can make a significant contribution. The report of the Center for Women Policy Studies 1 addresses this issue directly:
Acknowledging that there are lay persons who have much more experience with rape victims than most professionals and who have the personal characteristics to be better counselors, we nevertheless believe that the involvement of persons trained academically or clinically in crisis intervention, female sexuality, interpersonal relationships, and human behavior can be useful to a rape victim counseling program. They can serve as trainers, as consultants when problems arise, or as persons to whom a difficult case can be referred with confidence.
The potential role of the psychiatrist is multifaceted, with clinical, administrative, teaching, supervisory and research aspects.
There are presently urgent needs for education and training in a variety of settings. All hospital personnel assisting rape victims must become sensitized to the trauma of rape and the needs of the victim, and familiarized with basic concepts and methods of crisis intervention. The rapidly expanding body of knowledge about rape should be incorporated into the curricula of all medical schools and residency training programs, with continuing education efforts made at the local, state, and national levels of professional organizations. Criminal justice personnel are requesting training programs to improve their treatment of the victim, and community hospitals are requesting consultation to assist them in developing new services for victims. The Center for Women Policy Studies 2 recommends a coordinated and collaborative educational effort by physicians, hospitals, citizens, and criminal justice personnel as the most effective