Thursday, December 8, 2011

First raped, then screwed (Sept. 25, 2008)

Current mood: shocked

A couple of times in my life, I have had the close acquaintance of a rape victim. Neither of these forcible rapes was reported to the police. Neither received medical attention. I know one of them was a virgin. In each case, the girl was so emotionally destroyed, she could barely eat for days. In each case, isolation, fear, lack of transportation, and the complete absence of understanding from the people who should have understood, ALL stood in the way of her getting the medical and legal attention she needed.

I say this to underscore how vicious the crime is, and how absolutely raw the victim is rent asunder, in those first precious hours after the attack, when there is any chance of being able to gather evidence that would put the assailant in custody. After all, any rapist one day can be a rapist the next day, too, who knows who, or when, or where. Of course, these being unreported also means the number of actual rapes exceeds the reported statistics. Remember that the next time you read such statistics.

Now I will break a promise. I said I would not discuss candidates, but I will this once, as this story cannot go unreported: Sarah Palin, while mayor of Wasilla AK, hired a chief of police who, for four years, refused to have taxpayer money pay for "rape kits", the test equipment used by emergency rooms to collect evidence needed to prosecute a rape. Instead, he had the victim, or her insurance if she had any, pick up the the $300 to $1,200 per-kit cost. This policy got overturned by a state law in 2000 that forced Wasilla to do that. It was the only city in Alaska that had refused to do so, thus prompting the writing of the law.

NOT to have the police -- and ultimately tax dollars -- pay for collecting criminal evidence is utterly immoral, whatever the crime. You want to recover those costs later, fine, bill the criminal, but up front, it's police work. Palin's chief refused to do this, under her watch, and continued this policy for four years until the state law forced Wasilla to do so.

As if all those other reasons for not getting medical attention do not matter, a rape victim certainly does not need the cost of that kit, beyond the E.R. visit itself, to stand in her way. Note also that 1 in 6 Americans has no health insurance.

I will not discuss Palin's pluses and minuses on anything else except this one thing. She was ultimately in charge here. It is unforgivable. It beggars understanding.

To think that her method of reasoning and decision making might well be sitting in the Oval Office wrenches my gut something awful.

(Some links: 1, 2, 3, original story from 2000.)  [links re-verified as active, Dec. 8, 2011]


Update, a day later: She had to have known. She slashed the line item in the city budget by 75% that covered that part of police costs. [link]

1 comment:

bus15237 said...

Comments on the original 2008 blog post:

Liz Book
Stu, aren't we lucky that she didn't make it in! There are other victims of rape that I have dealt with on two occasions in my life. Children. Twice I have helped to convict pediphiles. One of them was said to be the worst serial pediphilic rapist in Florida's history. Gees, he worked at Disney World for 8 years. He had raped my son's best friend and little brother for two years. He tried to get out of jail in 2000. I testified against him under "The Jimmy Rice Law" in front of a Grand Jury. He was reconvicted for the simple fact that he showed no remorse for all that he had done. I heard he died in prison a few years back.

In New York, one of my best friends was murdered by a two time convicted murderer, Arthur Shawcross. The New York State Parole Board released him. His original charges were for the murder of a little boy and a little girl. He got out and went on a rampage. I believe the number was eight women murdered. My friend, Jannine Clausen was his last victim. He not only raped her and killed her, he cannibalized her. Sex offenders that are released from prison learn to kill their victims. They don't plan to go back to prison.

I guess you can see why I destest being tagged with a sex offense. I was raped when I was 15 in my own bed. I didn't even know what the man was doing to me, until later when I told my best friend. I didn't talk to my parents. The guy lived right next door to us and was my brother's friend. You are right when you speak of how it affects women for years. I grew up and moved on. But when my infant son was raped and his rapist tried to murder me, I could not find a way to get over that. Even today, I have a very hard time just thinking about it. Years, of counseling didn't make it go away. I thank God that my baby was too young to have any recall of the incident. I carry that burden. It was a step-brother who committed the crime. For the longest time, his family called me the worst of a lousy liar. Their kid would never do that! His courtroom confession convicted him. I would think that my testimony helped, too.

I cannot understand how any community would not protect victims of rape. That is unconscionable.

THAT IS SICK that it took a LAW to be WRITTEN that women/girls had to WAIT to get a RAPE REPORTED. *runs to bathroom to vomit* I would sue the town for the cost of everything.

Stuart Strickland
Well, they could report the rape right away, but had to pay for the evidence gathering themselves. "$300, please, so we can prosecute the assailant." This had to have had Palin's tacit approval. Four years of this? If she DIDN'T know about it, WHY didn't she? If she DID know about it, why did she tolerate it?

This person would replace Dick Cheney?

Natasha Renée
and i thought the polar bears were bad. this should be criminal. =(
having some experience in this i can't imagine how difficult it would be for a victim that actually musters up the nerve to attempt prosecution, to have to find funding for her own evidence gathering. most people don't have insurance, and then how much does that kit cost? the ones that don't have insurance don't have money for it either. i guess in the end the amount of reported rapes goes down, the city saves some change and all looks well on the books. shame on everyone that sat by and let this happen. fortunately some good came out of it, since there was a law written to prevent it from happening again. at least there's some shred of comfort in that. =(