SEATTLE – In 2014, Leah Griffin was raped.
The ordeal she went through in the aftermath of her assault has led her to become an advocate for other survivors, pushing for legislation that would require hospitals to keep nurses on staff that are specifically trained to perform rape exams.
“When I went to the emergency room in Seattle, I walked in and told them I had been raped. They said, ‘we don’t do rape kits here.’ That was incredible to me,” Griffin said Monday during an interview on Q13 News This Morning. “What I found out later, is that the problem is even worse than I initially thought. According to the International Association of Forensic Nurses, about only 17% of Tier 1 and Tier 2 hospitals have full access to rape kits in the United States.”
On Tuesday, Griffin will take her message to Washington, D.C., where she will attend President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address as an invited guest of Sen. Patty Murray. With the help of Sen. Murray and other lawmakers, Griffin hopes Congress will finally pass the Survivor's Access to Supportive Care Act.
An advocate for the “Me Too” and “Times Up” movements, started after a slew of sexual misconduct accusations against powerful men, Griffin said she hopes her presence at Tuesday’s address sends a powerful message to other survivors.
“I want them to know that you’re not alone. That I believe you. What happened to you is not your fault,” she said. “I think this is a brand-new era. Doing this work before this movement and after this movement is like living in two different worlds. And I think the world is going to get a lot better. It’s time.”