BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — A Western New York woman openly shares her sexual assault story in the hope this will help other victims know their rights following an attack.
7 News has decided to only use the woman’s first name, Madison. But Madison came to us to help share her story and explain how others in similar situations can navigate emergency care. 7 news senior reporter Eileen Buckley met with Madison near her home in Blasdell.
21-year-old Madison was willing to go on camera and show her face to tell her story about rape and the aftermath she says she experienced in an emergency room.
Madison tells me after she was raped in her own apartment. She then went to ECMC’s emergency room for help.
“They offered me no advocacy services. They offered me no crisis services. They offered me no food. They offered me no water. They didn't tell me where the bathroom was. They didn't give me anywhere to store my dirty clothes. or anything to change into,” Madison stated.
Madison says she wanted to make sure evidence was collected with a sexual assault kit. But she tells me she was asked to pay $300 upfront or be billed for the kit, otherwise, evidence could not be collected.
Madison says she works for a temp agency and does not have health coverage.
“It’s not like I came in there with a broken arm — I came in there because I was raped. I was trying to get evidence collected for a court case. I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to get HIV,” explained Madison.
According to the New York State Sexual Assault Patient Bill of Rights — the victim is not required to pay for the cost of a rape kit.
"You can ask the hospital to bill the Office of Victim Services," states the NYS Sexual Assault Patient Bill of Rights.
Madison says she left after repeated attempts to tell staffers she should not be charged for the kit.
“ECMC — in their neglect, failed to provide me the opportunity for fresh evidence. I went home. I showered. I threw out my clothes. I felt disgusted. I didn't get a kit done until 16 hours after the event — now that's not to say there won't be any evidence available,” recalled Madison.
I reached out to ECMC for comment. Hospital spokesman Peter Cutler issued a statement.
“ECMC takes the patient's allegations very seriously and has already started investigating the situation. ECMC has helped thousands of women throughout the years and we are deeply troubled by the concerns being raised."
Madison says she called Crisis Services after leaving ECMC and was directed to another medical office for help.
Blasdell Police confirmed with me that Madison did file a police report. She says she plans to file charges against her attacker.
You can reach out to Crisis Services of WNY at 716-834-3131 if you are in need of help or Restore at 800-527-1757.