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Locals rally in support of Truro rape survivor

Annette Comeau was one of several protestors gathered on Willow Street Saturday to protest the Colchester East Hants Health Centre’s handling of a 22-year-old woman who was sent away with just two pamphlets on sexual assault after being raped last month. Protestors want support for sexual assault survivors to be funded by the province and made available in every hospital.
Annette Comeau was one of several protestors gathered on Willow Street Saturday to protest the Colchester East Hants Health Centre’s handling of a 22-year-old woman who was sent away with just two pamphlets on sexual assault after being raped last month. Protestors want support for sexual assault survivors to be funded by the province and made available in every hospital. - Fram Dinshaw

Protest against hospital comes after 22-year-old woman was turned away last month after being raped.

TRURO, N.S. - A small rally was held in Truro Saturday, Sept. 15 to support a rape survivor turned away by the Colchester East Hants Health Centre last month.

“Truro Hospital needs to wake up and realize what they’ve been doing is wrong, they should not be turning away rape victims. They need to change,” said protest organizer Annette Comeau. “It makes me feel very angry and just sickened by this happening to these people.”

Gathering on Willow Street, the five to 10 protestors also called for victim support services, such as the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, to be available at every emergency room in the province. Such services should be funded by the province, instead of local non-profits like the Colchester Sexual Assault Centre, according to protestors.

These demands come after the 22-year-old rape survivor only received two leaflets about sexual violence and was sent away after speaking via phone to a nurse at another hospital.

However, people at the rally said that other sexual assault survivors have also been turned away by Truro’s hospital without receiving the help they need.

Such incidents have happened despite the worldwide #MeToo movement exposing on widespread sexual violence and harassment in entertainment, politics and wider society. A number of politicians and celebrities have already been forced to resign their posts and some like film mogul Harvey Weinstein are facing criminal charges.

“It’s been going on forever, but always been swept under the rug and it shouldn’t be allowed, it shouldn’t be accepted,” said Lowell DeLong, who attended with his wife Rose and daughter Margaret Mauger, who works at the Colchester Sexual Assault Centre.

Mauger echoed her father’s message, saying that help for sexual assault survivors was an essential healthcare service.

“The onus shouldn’t be on the victim or the survivor to have to go out and seek that support,” said Mauger.

Presently, SANE services are available in New Glasgow, Antigonish and Halifax.

The victim’s mother, herself a nurse, previously said that her daughter was not informed of the SANE service in nearby New Glasgow, not offered counselling and not given any advice on preserving evidence like documenting bruises or saving her clothing.

As a result, the Department of Health and Nova Scotia Health Authority launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident on last month.

Both the provincial New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives have called for greater support for victims of sexual assault to stop such incidents from happening again.

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