The Sexual Assault Center in Nashville has received an overwhelmingly high number of rape kit exams since the date of opening. The center has only been open for several months, yet they have done more rape kits than they estimated.
After the clinic opened in September of 2018, less than a year ago, Rachel Freeman who is the president of the center said that they estimated about one hundred rape kits in their first year. Only eight months later, they’ve already surpassed that number. As of today, that number is one hundred and twenty.
“It is overwhelming,” she said, “It is hard to keep up with.”
While the Sexual Assault Center is most definitely receiving most cases than anticipated, they’re still committed to helping out and making a change in the community. It can be difficult though, considering it costs around $2,200 for one single rape kit exam and crisis support.
Due to these extremely high costs that can be difficult to afford, the clinic is trying its best to raise the money. They’re holding fundraises and attempting to find as many ways as possible to raise money.
“We are committed to raising those dollars so we can make sure we’re providing everything that needs to be provided,” said Freeman.
It can be really hard for people to afford these kinds of treatments, so the Sexual Assault Center is doing whatever they can to help people recover from their experiences.
Why the increase?
Freeman says that the increase partially has to do with the ‘Me Too’ movement. She says it’s likely that this is the reason why the demand for rape kits is so high.
“We continue to hear so many different stories of sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, sexual abuse,” said Freeman. “This is the kind of trauma that can take years to recover from.”
‘Me Too’ is a movement that empowers women and inspires them to speak out against their abusers. Over the course of history, many women just accepted abuse and didn’t know how to make a difference. Now, the movement is inspiring women from all over to come forth with their experiences of sexual abuse.
“They deserve to have the best care possible,” she said about the women who come in sharing their stories.
Though the clinic wishes to help everyone, the high number of people makes it difficult to ensure everyone gets help.
“It’s a significant increase over what we expected,” she said.
It’s important to note that the increase isn’t in just rape kits as well. Many other services have spiked too, including individual therapy. The individual therapy waitlist consists of around eighty people. Due to increases like this, more staff needs to be hired.
“We were a staff of 24 three years ago,” Freeman said. “As of July, we’ll have 51 people on our staff.”
51 may seem like quite a bit of staff, but when they’re having this many people come to their clinic, it’s just not enough.
If you want to help make a difference consider visiting the GoFundMe page to help raise money.