In 1971, the incidence of rape increased in the Miami area drawing media attention and mobilizing local feminists. Mrs. Roxcy O’Neal Bolton wasn’t afraid to talk about it, and she marched against rape down Flagler Street. As a result, Miami-Dade County Commission formed a countywide Rape Task Force. Members included housewives, business and professional women, and mental health and law enforcement agencies. By the end of the first meeting, the members agreed on the need for a new rape crisis program. In 1973, the Rape Task Force proposed, and the Miami-Dade County Commission approved, county funding for the Miami Rape Treatment Center (RTC). In 1974, the Miami Rape Treatment Center opened its doors as a county-supported organization and fiscal extension of Jackson Memorial Hospital, one of the first rape treatment centers in the nation. The youngest victim was two weeks old; the oldest victim was 98 years old.
During the late 1980s, Jackson Memorial Hospital recommended the establishment of a Volunteer Advisory Board for the active participation of concerned Miami-Dade County residents. The board was to assist the RTC administration in carrying out the mission of the RTC and increasing its presence through community outreach activities. Dorothy J. Hicks, M.D., professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, served as the first medical director of the Rape Treatment Center from 1973 to 1993. Dr. Hicks carried out this important mission to provide sensitive, confidential care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to all victims of sexual abuse and rape. She appointed Karen J. Simmons, M.D., as her successor.
Dr. Simmons served as the RTC medical director until September 1, 2008. During this time, she distinguished herself as a teacher, contributing greatly to community-wide understanding for survivors of sexual assault. She also shared her knowledge with police officers, prosecutors in the State Attorney and U.S. Attorney’s offices, high school students, college sociology classes and operators of cruise ships about the impact of sexual assault.
Today the Roxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center is under the medical supervision of Dr. Girish “Bobby” Kapur, M.D. and June Ellis, MS, RN. RTC is the only comprehensive rape treatment center in Miami-Dade County. RTC is also one of the few rape treatment centers nationwide to provide an all-inclusive approach to the care and treatment of victims of sexual assault ages 12 years and older.