For those women who have the courage to report a rape at a hospital ER, you'd expect a rape kit would be provided. That wasn't the case for Dinisha Ball. Jillian Keenan recounts the Texas woman's ordeal—a 9-hour period that saw her visit three ERs—in Cosmopolitan. Ball and a friend went dancing at a Houston club on a Friday night; she woke up, dizzy and foggy, in a bed other than the one she shared with her fiance Daniel. A man she recalled from the club was on top of her. She ultimately got back to her friend, and Daniel was called. It seemed clear to him both women had been drugged. The first ER, which they headed to at 9am, said it couldn't see Ball without insurance, even though Daniel insisted they could pay. The ER was a for-profit freestanding one; those facilities are exempt from a federal law that requires people to be treated regardless of their ability to pay.
While Texas has a similar law, there's a loophole ERs that are unaffiliated with hospitals can exploit. At ER No. 2, West Houston Medical Center, a doctor said he couldn't perform a rape kit analysis. He didn't explain why, but gave them a list of hospitals that could help them. "In Houston, the fourth-most populous city in the United States, with 2.3 million people, the paper listed only two hospitals," writes Keenan. One was in Galveston. Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center, the other, tried to point her to a 4th ER. "Make it happen," Daniel insisted. At 6pm, Ball was finally given a rape kit, in a process that took less than 25% the recommended time. She hadn't peed all day in hopes of detecting a drug. Too much time had passed to find one. And her ordeal didn't end there. Read the full article, which also talks about the importance of having a "SANE" on staff. (Read more rape kit stories.)