A possible after-effect of the recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Oklahoma City YWCA reports fewer sexual assault claims than normal.
YWCA is the main provider of sexual assault survivor services in Oklahoma County. Nurses with the YWCA perform sexual assault exams while other advocates provide information and provide comfort and support for victims.
“We know that rape and sexual assault didn’t stop over the last two weeks. It would be nice to think that, but we know that it didn’t,” said Angela Beatty, YWCA Chief Program Officer.
YWCA advocates have been piecing together why they are receiving fewer and fewer calls.
“We’ve seen a marked decline since the Roe v. Wade decision. At the end of June, we had nine exams in one month. Since the beginning of July, we’ve only had a few, so it’s pretty alarming,” said Beatty.
The YWCA used to help about 45 people each month.
“Some of the current concern is fear that if they are pregnant or fear medical professionals will report it on their behalf,” said Beatty.
“Our services are free and confidential. We are mandated by local and federal law so everything you tell us is confidential. We don’t share that information with anyone, not even your mom unless you sign a release for us to talk to them,” Beatty explained.
Beatty also assured that police would only be involved if the survivor wanted them to. She hopes this message will give those struggling confidence to reach out for help.
“The thought that people in our community no longer feel comfortable or are fearful because of what may be on the other end of the phone call is heartbreaking. We want to support clients and we support them making decision based on whatever they want for their future,” said Beatty.
YWCA said that if a client does want to get law enforcement involved, they have the right to an advocate through every step of the legal process.