Sarah Palin: Objectively pro-sexual assault

Op-Edna finds that during Sarah Palin’s two terms as mayor, the town of Wasilla charged victims of sexual assault the cost of their rape kits:

ANCHORAGE – Gov. Tony Knowles recently signed legislation protecting victims of sexual assault from being billed for tests to collect evidence of the crime, but one local police chief said the new law will further burden taxpayers.

The governor signed House Bill 270, sponsored by Rep. Eric Croft, D-Anchorage, outside the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) exam room at Alaska Regional Hospital. In attendance at the signing were members of victims advocate groups, law enforcement agencies and legislators. […]

While the Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies have covered the cost of exams, which cost between $300 to $1,200 apiece, the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests.

Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon does not agree with the new legislation, saying the law will require the city and communities to come up with more funds to cover the costs of the forensic exams.

In the past weve charged the cost of exams to the victims insurance company when possible. I just dont want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer, Fannon said.

According to Fannon, the new law will cost the Wasilla Police Department approximately $5,000 to $14,000 a year to collect evidence for sexual assault cases.

This is, to say the least, pretty fucking despicable. Both for the reasons you’d expect – it’s cruel, emblematic of the negative treatment survivors of sexual assault often receive – and for somewhat more systemic reasons: sexual assault is chronically underreported as it is, and requiring victims to pay the cost of their own rape kit incentivizes staying quiet over reporting the assault. So yeah, fuck you Sarah Palin for not having the decency to lift this ridiculous burden on survivors of sexual assault. Especially when you were more than willing to sink a few million dollars (and leave your town debt-ridden) into building an ill-thought “athletic center.”

Update: It turns out Jill already blogged this; that’s what I get for not paying more attention to the main page.

cross-posted at my blog

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8 comments for “Sarah Palin: Objectively pro-sexual assault

  1. Janice
    September 9, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Funny … I do not see where that news article mentions Palin at all.

    It does mention the person who created the policy, the Police Chief.

  2. The Raving Atheist
    September 9, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    Bum rap against Palin. The problem of charging rape victims for the kits is a national one which continues to this day, even in Obama’s state of Illinois. The problem is that the medical care and forensic tests often overlap and are rendered in the emergency room, so that the hospital sticks everything on the same bill. North Carolina just enacted a bill to prevent this last month, so you could just well claim that until then every Democratic Mayor in that state was guilty of the same alleged offense as Palin.

    I would also note that you haven’t presented any evidence that any rape victim in Alaska actually paid for a kit, as opposed to having had the cost billed to the insurer.

  3. September 10, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    that evidence would be hard to get, given confidentiality and the desire of rape victims to maintain their privacy. but fear of an unpayable bill from the ER deters lots of people who really need medical care, so knowing they were going to get a bill could deter a victim from going to the ER for a rape exam. it’s a very difficult thing to do, but the evidence collected may get a rapist off the streets.
    i think that victims of crime were not a priority for Mayor Palin, or she would have taken an interest and not let her chief of police say what he said.

  4. September 12, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    I’m going to be upfront here and say that I am proudly a “lipstick” feminist. But, that being said, I have a brain (which is how the feminist part ended up next to the lipstick part) and I know when I am being spoon-fed Bullshit. I am so tired of hearing about her damn lipstick I need to come up with a new name for the brand of feminism I normally engage in because every time I hear the word it makes me think of her.

    Yeah, dress up, wear your naughty monkey shoes that you copied off of Paris Hilton (I’m just saying….), but for the love of god have something other than hockey and how awesome your husband is at snow machine racing to talk about.

    I mean, aren’t we dropping bombs over there somewhere? Shouldn’t this thing just be a little more serious and a little less like a bad made for TV movie shown on the W channel?

  5. DingoDave
    September 12, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Sarah Palin Was aware of this policy. In fact she even signed off on it in her local government budget.

    “Palin, as mayor, fired police chief Irl Stambaugh and replaced him with Charlie Fannon, who with Palin’s knowledge, slashed the budget for the exams and began charging the city’s victims of sexual assault. The city budget documents demonstrate Palin read and signed off on the new budget. A year later, alarmed Alaska lawmakers passed legislation outlawing the practice…It turns out that Wasilla did not bill sexual assault victims for the cost of rape exams while Irl Stambaugh was chief of police. As chief, he had included a line item in the budget to pay for the cost of such exams. He had only just heard about the Mayor Palin/Chief Fannon policy today, and was just as shocked to hear about it as I was.”

    You can read the full article here.

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