Rape Counselors Rebuilding Shattered Lives

Her mission is to restore the broken lives of the victims who come to her after their lives have been devastated.
Dannette Wilson Gonzalez is one of three rape crisis counselors who operate out of the Queens District Attorney’s Office at 80-02 Kew Gardens Rd.
The rape counselors from the Mount Sinai Rape Crisis Intervention Program are currently treating 30 cases including three men.
"It’s difficult to explain just how devastating rape can be," Gonzalez said. "This crime is equal to attempted murder because it attacks the essence of who you are."
Like her colleagues in the D.A.’s Office, the rape counselor is concerned about the high recidivism rate of rapists.
"The survivors all feel that their violators have not been given adequate time in prison and seem to be released prematurely," Gonzalez said.
The Mount Sinai program is operated at Elmhurst General Hospital and Queens Hospital Center.
"These are the only two hospitals in the borough with rape advocates in the emergency room," she said. "It’s very sad to realize we are so underserved."
Gonzalez said that despite several attempts in the last year she has been unable to persuade the borough’s hospitals to provide services for rape victims.
"We’ve had a number of meetings with officials of the other hospitals," she said, "but to no avail."
The rape crisis intervention team at the D.A.’s office provides short-term therapy of from 12 to 16 weeks to rape victims.
Gonzalez said that half the rape victims turn down their help.
"We are encouraged, however, that the stigma of rape is changing because of the educational programs now operating in the borough.
The Queens-based Mount Sinai program was launched last June.
The City Police Dept. has reported that rapes in Queens are exponentially higher in 1998 than a year ago.

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