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Rape Victims Aren’t Victims, According to Georgia Rep.

8:58 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Amie Newman for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Apparently, in Georgia, it’s not enough that women aren’t to be trusted to make our own medical and health decisions without government intrusion. Now, we’re not to be trusted when it comes to reporting crimes, either.

Republican State Rep. Bobby Franklin, of Georgia, has introduced H.B. 14 which mandates that rape victims, victims of stalking or harassment, or victims of family violence may no longer be classified as “victims” but as “accusers.” According to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, Franklin’s bill would,

change the state’s criminal codes so that in “criminal law and criminal procedure” (read: in court), victims of rape, stalking, and family violence could only be referred to as “accusers” until the defendant has been convicted.

To read the bill itself is like one long assault on women’s autonomy and capacity as thinking human beings. Each time the word “victim” is crossed out in favor of “accuser,” it’s another slap in the face to justice. Franklin’s utterly misogynistic, hateful bill tells victims that regardless of what they’ve experienced,  those experiences aren’t valid and they’re not to be believed until our justice system deems it so. Read more

Sen. Franken: Rape Victims Should Not Have To Pay for Their Own Rape Kits

8:17 am in Government, Legislature by RH Reality Check

Written by Robin Marty for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

Minnesota Senator Al Franken has spent his time in office as a staunch advocate for women’s reproductive health.  In the fall of 2009, Sen. Franken sponsored an amendment to a defense bill that would have de-funded military contractors who prevent rape victims from seeking justice, based on the case of Jamie Leigh Jones, who was sexually attacked while working for KBR – a subsidiary of Halliburton.

Now, the Minnesota Democrat is once more taking up the cause for women who have been victims of sexual assault.  Last week, Sen. Franken spoke in front of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs about the backlog of rape kits going unaddressed in police storage, and the practice of making victims pay for their own forensic evidence.

The problem is that some jurisdictions are still billing victims for the rape kits, leaving it to the victims to get reimbursed by insurers or victims’ funds. And with that objection, Mr. Chairman, I would like to add to the record four articles…that document this."

To me, the real problem is that this practice is actually legal under federal law.  It is legal to bill a victim for her rape kit….Can you elaborate on this?  Is it a good idea to allow victims to be billed for their rape kits, even if they get fully reimbursed later?

Sen. Franken brings up an additional issue as to the billing of rape kits to victims, even if they are reimbursed by insurance: that an insurance claim being sent to someone’s home could violate her privacy by informing the family, spouse or other residents about the rape, something about which the victim may not have wanted them to be made aware.

Susan Carbon, the Director of the Office of Violence Against Women, responds to that problem as well as others rape kit issues in her own testimony.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →