Thursday, June 09, 2005

Get the rape kit.

I know this is a truly unpopular subject, but I feel it's oh, so necessary to discuss it.

Fact is, if you live in this world and you know women, you know at least one woman who has been raped.

Statistics are unreliable, because so many of these go unreported, especially Date Rape. Oh, how we've been trained to guilt ourselves into believing rape is our fault. Short skirt? She was asking for it. Too much makeup? Drinking alcohol? Flirting? As far as I'm concerned, no still means no. Not one, or even all, of the above behaviors, gives a man free rein to force a woman to have sex against her will. Nobody ever asks for that. And yet, put a woman on the witness stand dressed as she was that night at the bar and who will find a man guilty? No, we must dress her in a suit, little or no makeup, hair very plain... Oh, listen I could go on and on. This is a societal issue and there are times when I believe the media would have us all dressed in burqas so as to protect ourselves from men who can't control themselves.

At any rate, the focus of my post today is on the rape kit. There's a story in NJ news right now about a man who previously had been convicted of sexual assault, served his time and is now living as an "upstanding citizen," working in a hospital and saving lives. Except DNA evidence has linked him to two, and possibly as many as 10, rapes in the last 7 years. How is this possible? The rape kit.

The rape kit is highly controversial, as it's a cold, humiliating and emotionally devastating procedure. It's medical rape, all over again, while reliving experiences one would sooner forget. It's exposing yourself to more strangers, being probed, answering questions about the incident and lifestyle in general. It's a photo shoot. The other half of the controversy, of course, is that lack of funding is letting many of these kits sit untested, with vital DNA clues sitting around in bags.

Still, I say: I hope with all my heart and soul that neither you nor anybody you know ever has to go through this, but if you do, please...Get The Rape Kit.

DNA evidence lasts for a really really long time. Refusing the kit more often than not allows the rapist to walk away and usually, do it again.

All this is swirling through my head every single time I hear about this story on the news. I really feel it needed to be said.


Blogger Kate said...

Sad. I remember when I was a kid, watching my mother at some kind of picnic or outdoor party, telling a bunch of other women that she didn't "believe" in rape.

She proclaimed that she didn't think there was any such thing. Well, maybe in certain rare cases "like when a man breaks into the home of a 60 year old woman or something..." but in most cases "these women are asking for it! Going to bars, late at night, getting drunk, walking home alone or getting in a car with a strange man, what do they expect?"

As her daughter, sitting there, thinking to myself: "Great. I hope I never get raped because I can see how much sympathy I'll get from this bitch." LOL. Sad but true. My mom, what a piece of work. You can see why I don't talk to her!

But now, looking back, I wonder if the other women listening to her holding court might have been thinking the same thing, "this woman is nuts".

I assumed, being a kid, that adults were all in cahoots. Now I know better. But too bad none of them spoke up and challanged her. Or maybe they did agree? Guess I'll never know. I'm just glad I could see through the BS.

Anyway, thanks for your post.

1:45 PM, June 09, 2005  
Blogger cjblue said...

Hey, you're my first comment! First visitor too, I think.

You're right, sad is the word. And I wish I believed that this particular attitude was confined to a past generation, but I'm afraid not.

Thanks for your input. Thanks for thinking for yourself.

3:11 PM, June 09, 2005  
Blogger Atreau said...

I heard that in some states, there is no money to process the kits so that hinders any type of justice that could happen. There are organizations that raise funds to process these kits. I saw it on a news magazine I believe.

11:51 PM, June 09, 2005  
Blogger katiedid said...

In Oregon there is definitely a lack of money to process them... there's actually a grass roots movement to hold private dinner parties to raise money to donate to help analyze the dna in these kits.

Another thing I find terrifying is the number of hospitals that will not offer emergency contraception. They won't even mention it as an option, which I find disgusting. And in rural areas, sometimes you don't just get to go to another hospital. Well, for that matter, someone who has been through that kind of awful experience shouldn't even have to beg and hunt for emergency contraception.

5:33 PM, June 14, 2005  
Anonymous Laura said...

Holy shit Kate, I think you and I have the same mother! Mine was an ER nurse and was complaining about a woman who refused the rape kit...there's more to the story, there always is, but the short version is that my mother didn't believe she was raped and the refusal of the rape kit was one factor in her judgment. It came up in the trial later apparently as well. I know this because the DA's office called my mother to get a (?) deposition about it.

1:02 AM, June 20, 2005  

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