mad in pursuit memoir notebook

DISPATCHED FROM THE intersection of yesterday and forever

1977 susan price1977: Rape Crisis Service

Oh my God, how young I look. How absolutely 1970s!

When I started working in the Community Medicine Department, after 2 brainbusting years of graduate school, I looked around for some volunteer work.

I wanted something purely emotional. You need me and I'll fly to your side. No math, no analysis, no judgments. No political pretensions except for a bit of raging, "Our Bodies, Ourselves" feminism

The Rape Crisis Service touched my heart. They gave you some training, a partner, a beeper and a week of duty every couple of months. I was ready to serve.

Irony: When I'd had enough 3 years later, I'd only extended my hand to one rape victim — a shut-down young woman who had nothing to say and who refused any follow-up.

But almost immediately after joining I was on the Steering Committee and by the next year I was the Coordinator of this all-volunteer service housed within Planned Parenthood. I helped revise the training manual. I was on the Speakers Bureau nattering about victimization on radio and TV, at luncheons and in lecture halls. I wasn't a great speaker — spent too much time on research and not enough on presentation. My head was full of wise thoughts that didn't always come out right.

Most notable, I designed the forms and and synthesized the procedures that standardized the treatment of rape victims (incl. evidence collection, how to preserve the chain of evidence, etc.) in all 5 emergency rooms in our community. With the prodding and politicking of my buddy Malinda, they were actually adopted.

And I was the last unpaid Coordinator, finally convincing Planned Parenthood that they needed to fund a full-time position, which still exists today. It's sort of an antihero thing to do, saying that volunteers could only be expected to do so much.

Guess I'm not the "laying on of hands" type. My contribution always involves toiling away in the back office — thinking, writing, designing, organizing and complaining to authorities that they have it all wrong. My niche. Forever wanting to be Supergirl, but always Lois Lane's ghostwriter.



I found this clipping in some old files. A moment of 28-year-old glory I'd nearly forgotten — before I changed my name back to Price. Full article:

No Woman Asks for Rape Brighton-Pittsford Post, 12.29.1977.