Sarah Palin and the Rape Kit Question

Bloggers say Wasilla police used to charge rape victims for the kits. If so, they weren't alone.

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The blogosphere is reporting that when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, in the late 1990s, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's municipal police department charged rape victims for the "rape kit" used to collect the forensic evidence necessary to convict their attackers. 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.

If on her watch Sarah Palin allowed women to be charged for rape kits, she has some serious explaining to do. But while she's undoubtedly the most visible offender, if the story is true, she's unfortunately not the only one to have permitted this reprehensible practice.