Few Houston-area medical facilities offer rape kits

She was sound asleep in her apartment and suddenly a light from a cellphone was shining in her eyes and a stranger was on top of her.

"The rape lasted seconds. The process of getting a rape kit done took hours. That process was more victimizing than the rape itself," remembers Tiana Hogans.

She credits watching Law & Order: SVU with what she did next. She didn't change or shower. Instead, she went straight to a hospital on the west side expecting to get a kit performed, only to get another shock.

"Their exact words were 'we don’t do rape kits here'. But we can get you to Galveston, to UTMB, but you'll have to get your own way back. So I stormed out," Hogans says.

She stormed out and went to five hospitals. Although she’d been told over the phone she could get a kit performed, when she arrived they told her they couldn’t. Finally she drove down to Galveston for the test.  Assistant District Attorney Kristina Roberts handled her case.

"She was a trooper, of course, she was a survivor and she went to all six because she knew the importance of getting an examination and for what it could do for possible prosecution," Roberts says.

For prosecuting this man -- serial rapist Reginald Bonds. He's serving a life sentence for his crimes.

Under Texas law, health care facilities with an emergency department are required to train nurses to preform basic sexual assault exams and transfer patients to a facility that does give more comprehensive care and testing if the patient requests it. But that's not what's always happening, says the head of the Sex Crimes Division of the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

"The law in Texas doesn’t have any teeth to it. Hospitals are told what they have to do, but if they don't do it there's no real repercussions," says Asst. District Attorney Traci Bennett.

She says while some are in full compliance, far too many are not. She's not sure why but suspects money is an issue.

Dr. Khara Breeden says of the roughly 180 eligible facilities in Harris County, only 10 do kits and only four do them 24/7. She's setting up an organization to rush trained nurses to any medical facility that gets a rape victim.

"I think the only way to do it is keep pushing forward and try to do the right thing for patients and victims because if I don't do something nobody else will," Dr. Breeden says.

But she says they won't be ready until January. In the meantime, victims are left to take their chances with the current system, but Hogans urges victims to go through with it. If not for themselves, then for the next potential victim.

"Whichever way you have to look at it to get your strength to do it, do it," she says.