8.23.16 | Jillian Keenan
How could it be legal for multiple Houston, Texas, emergency rooms to refuse Dinisha Ball a rape kit? The complicated, infuriating, little-known reasons why women can be denied emergency care after a sexual assault.
Dinisha Ball and her best friend Loraine* pushed their way through a crush of people at Houston's upscale Belvedere Club to an empty space near the back of the courtyard, where a crowd had gathered outside to hear the live band. The friends had left their partners at home — Dinisha's fiancé, Daniel Koza, and Loraine's boyfriend, Charles* — in favor of a girls' night to celebrate Dinisha's new job and a promotion for Loraine that would relocate her to California. It might be one of their last times together for a while. They had to make it count.
The women had taken their time getting ready at Loraine's hotel room at the nearby Marriott, where she was temporarily living in preparation for the cross-country move. After their first round of vodka cranberries at the club, they moved inside and claimed two spots at the corner of the bar, where they'd have more room to talk.
As the dance floor came alive, Dinisha caught the bartender's attention and ordered another vodka cranberry. "I can't finish this by myself," she shouted to Loraine over the noise. "I'll help," Loraine said. Soon the women left their drink to dance. Various men approached them, but they demurred — they wanted to be alone.