SlutWalk Milwaukee campaign on Change.org calls on area hospitals to add 24/7 trained sexual assault nurse examiners so that rape survivors can be treated wherever they arrive.
MILWAUKEE, WI – More than 1,500 Wisconsin residents have joined a popular campaign on Change.org calling on Milwaukee-area hospitals to stop sending rape survivors away and make trained sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) personnel available at all times.
Only two area hospitals provide round-the-clock SANE responders. Sexual assault survivors who arrive at a health center without a SANE responder will have to go to another hospital for proper treatment and a rape kit.
Michele Reimer, organizer of SlutWalk Milwaukee, a coalition dedicated to supporting sexual assault survivors and ending victim-blaming, is leading the campaign on Change.org calling on Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital, Milwaukee VA Medical Center, Wheaton Fransican Healthcare, and Froadtert Lutheran Memorial Hospital to provide these vital services 24 hours a day.
“The petition is an effort to change services for sexual assault victims,” Reimer commented. “SANE responders provide vital services to victims – not just a rape kit and STI testing, but initial counseling and a knowledge of resources for agencies of support. By making immediate services accessible to everyone, we may be able to encourage more people to report and get whatever services they need to aid them in their healing journey.”
The campaign has caught the attention of State Representative Sandy Pasch, who met with SlutWalk Milwaukee this week to discuss potential legislation to mandate that all Wisconsin hospitals have SANE responders.
“It’s remarkable to see how this campaign has resonated with Wisconsin residents,” said Change.org Senior Organizer Alex DiBranco. “Motivated by a personal experience watching a teenage rape survivor go without care because the hospital lacked trained SANE personnel, Michele Reimer founded SlutWalk Milwaukee. She organized a march against sexual violence and now has recruited more than 1,500 of her fellow Wisconsin residents to her SANE campaign. Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and Michele’s campaign is a clear example of that happening.”
Reimer and SlutWalk Milwaukee are also working to launch a community advocacy response system to connect rape survivors with a trained advocate to assist with counseling, legal, or medical services. The campaign to push hospitals to provide SANE responders is a major component of creating an effective Milwaukee-area crisis response network that can best serve victims.
Live signature totals from Michele Reimer’s campaign: