Rural rape victims in Tennessee face obstacles for exams. These nurses hope to change that (Nashville Tennessean)

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    Rural rape victims in Tennessee face obstacles for exams. These nurses hope to change that – By Kelly Puente (Nashville Tennessean) / Jan 25, 2024

    Fueled by new grant funding, efforts are underway to expand access in rural areas — particularly near Columbia, Pulaski in Middle Tennessee and the rural areas surrounding Shelby County.

    As recent as 2018, rape survivors in much of Middle Tennessee had to travel to Nashville General Hospital as the only location where specially trained nurses could perform forensic sexual assault exams.

    Katrina Brown, who at the time was an emergency room nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said the lack of access was frustrating and discouraging for the victims, who sometimes traveled hours from rural areas and were required to be escorted to the hospital in a police car.

    Recognizing the problem, city leaders pushed to expand Nashville’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, and today, the landscape looks much different, Brown said.

    Nashville now has several locations, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where victims can receive an exam from a SANE-trained nurse.

    CONTINUE > https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/2024/01/25/tennessee-sexual-assault-grants-help-rural-victims-access-rape-kits/71960315007/

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