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I Have To Pay To Do What?

Vaginas are a critical part of my job. Unfortunately not in that fun, naughty way but in more of the Law and Order: SVU sort of way. I think that is why this made me stand up and cheer. Was I angered at the fact that victims were forced to pay for their own evidentiary exams (aka rape kit)? You bet. But I found myself thrilled at the fact that this all too common situation was finally being thrust into the spotlight, even if it has taken the introduction of a bizarro Tina Fey to make it happen.

Being charged for evidence collection after a sexual assault is not new or unusual. According to a Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault survey of service providers conducted in January of 2008, only 42% of respondents said that victims in their communities do not have to pay for a forensic exam. Federal legislation has set the deadline, January 2009, for all states to finally meet the new standards which require the state and local jurisdictions to figure out how to cover the costs of an evidentiary exam for rape victims. We will now just have to wait and see if they all reach that goal. Even our own fair city has proven shamefully inept when it comes to serving victims of sexual violence and it has not been until the past couple months that concrete changes in policy have taken effect.

Sometimes I feel like this is only a hop, skip and a jump away- perhaps even inevitable? If rapists did find a magic lamp that Sarah Palin jumped out of they have already used up two wishes (click here for the second) and I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to be around for the third.

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