Posted by: inforodeo | September 20, 2008

So I’m Looking into this Palin Rape-Kit thing …

First, a clip from another blog, and how i was first made aware of this:

a friend remarked, in response to my Gun ban post:

“Alaska has the highest rape levels?! Wow!
Speaking of Alaska and rape, Palin made women in her town pay for their own rape kits when she was mayor. Woohoo!
OK I’m done with my impromptu Palin-bashing for the moment… haha.”

I responded:

well, Alaska has the highest *reported* rape. I’d imagine in a state with as high a male-to-female ratio, i’m not surprised, though.

hadn’t heard about Palin making women in her town pay for their own rape kits. wow.
i did just find this on US News & World Reoert’s site:

“According to reports, this changed in 2000 when then Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles signed a bill protecting rape victims from being charged. As I wrote recently, however, the situation described in Wasilla is not unique. In all too many instances, women are still being stuck with the bill for rape kits. This despite the fact that in order to qualify for federal grants under the Violence Against Women Act, states are supposed to pick up the entire tab.”
[LINK: http://www.usnews.com/blogs/on-health-and-money/2008/9/10/sarah-palin-and-the-rape-kit-question.html ]

Shockingly, The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) Was signed into public law (103-322) by President Bill Clinton on September 13th, 1994.
The VAWA was drafted by Senator Joseph Biden’s office with support from a bunch of advocacy organizations, including the Legal Momentum and The National Organization for Women, which called the bill “the greatest breakthrough in civil rights for women in nearly two decades”.


i wrote a little more after that, but then decided to ‘hit the books’ to see if i could learn more.  After all, MoveOn.org and DemocracyNow!, along with their little wannabe bloggers and ‘grassroots’ groups are notorious for liberally editing out the context and important points in reporting these things, so i suspected something may be up.  Sweeping through numerous fiery rants about “Palin making rape victims pay for their own rape kits”, and stories depicting what it ‘must have been like’ to sit there on a cold bench, mascara streaming down your face, and then suddenly handed a bill …

i began to notice some patterns:
– no one could agree on the cost of these rape kits. some sources said $300, some said $1200, some said $2000.
– there were a lot of references to ONE news story
– every MoveOn article had to include the dates Palin was mayor.  Why? i mean, if she was down there swabbing the victims and handing out bills, wouldn’t the news article be enough?

well, it turns out there are a few things no one wanted to bring up. 
first, in the actual article from the Frontiersman [source: http://www.frontiersman.com/articles/2000/05/23/news.txt],  we learn a few things:
– Palin is never mentioned.  I find this a little weird, considering at the time there were under 6,000 people in the town of Wasilla (alaska’s 5th largest city!), there were only 53 employees of the city – 54, if you count Palin – and at this point, according to strategically abused Wikipedia Entry “The Mayorality of Sarah Palin” [source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayoralty_of_Sarah_Palin ], Palin was “already being groomed by republicans for Governer”
Why is someone so charismatic, so out-there-and in-your-face not even mentioned in a shocking article about her city – the city where she is the boss of the chief of police – not even mentioned?
– Through the article we learn hear the new police chief, Charlie Fannon say that “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” [i should point out, however, that the article does not make use of quotation marks around this particular statement, so it’s possible he didn’t say that].

the last little interesting tidbit, is that the City of Wasilla has no record of any Rape Kits ever being billed to a victim.  [source: Mayor Dianne M. Keller, RE: Billing Of sexual Assualt Victims Fo Forensic Exams, in which she details the city’s finance records for fiscal years 2000, 2001, and 2002 – the financial computer and backup documentation don’t go back any further, unfortunately, but a link to the city’s statistics for sexual assaults is also provided in her memo]. 

From the data we see on the city’s website, we know that sex assaults happened during those years (however they group ALL sexually-related assults into the numbers, which would include indecent exposure, ‘peeping toms’ and other non penetrative sexual acts that would not require the use of a ‘rape kit’ to prosecute.).   Keller’s memo notes that the financial records (bills mailed out) prior to the beginning of 2000 are not available, but when comparing the City of Wasilla’s billing of 2000-2002 to the sexual assault numbers (10, 10, 15 respectively), even if we were to assume the worst – that all 35 incidents were rapes, we can see that NONE OF THE VICTIMS WERE EVER BILLED FOR A RAPE KIT, and likewise, none of the victim’s insurance companies were billed. 

If it were city policy to bill victims for rape kits, and there were no crimes involving rapes in Wasilla during palin’s two terms, do you think a mayor who only has 53 city employees under her, and who is in charge of the police department, the department of public works, parks and recreation, and even the museum would have time to uncover this obscure law?  Most mayors do not have as much to personally oversee, though most also have ten times the employees.  If it’s a mayor’s most important duty to ensure they personally are familiar with every single law, i wonder if my own mayor knows how many goats, chickens and cattle i may keep in my yard withon city limits … or if the mayor of Pahrump, NV knows it is illegal to fly a foreign flag? or if most mayors know it’s illegal to spit in their small towns? 

so here’s my stance, based on what i’ve found:

1) i’m pretty certain Palin was not aware that her city of 6,000 people, like many other cities in the COUNTRY had a plan to charge the INSURANCE companies of sexual assault victims for their rape kits, in order to comply with the LAW [The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA)] drafted by JOE BIDEN and signed into effect by BILL CLINTON that required states – no matter their economic status – to PAY FOR THEIR OWN RAPE KITS rather than receive federal aid (because the feds don’t care about sexual assault victims!). 
2) Fortunately, THE CITY OF WASILLA NEVER BILLED ANY RAPE VICTIMS (or their insurance companies!) FOR THEIR RAPE KITS, though there seems to be evidence that reported rapes likely took place.
3) Either way, anyone who tells you that “Palin was charging sexual assualt victims for their own rape kits” is a LIAR, and NOT TO BE TRUSTED. 

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