Domestic Violence Survivor Art
I'm on the Board of our local domestic violence shelter, SafeHouse, and was down there tonight to help with the start of training. Seeing the T-shirts made by survivors, reminded me I had this I took a while ago with my cell phone.
[click for a slightly larger version]
I took his one while I was there this time...
[click for a larger version]
With the economy in Southeast Michigan a bit worse than average for the nation, the SaftHouse budget is under stress (understatements all around). For anyone who is interested, here info on donations - and you can also help simply by using this link to order from Amazon.com (bookmarking it means you automatically help every time you order).
- earlier posting with more survivor art
- StopViolence.com resources on domestic violence and sexual assault
Sarah Palin and the Rape Kits
Just as I'm getting ready to finalize this posting, my colleague Donna emails me this article from the NY Times (with the headline used above):
Even in tough budget times, there are lines that cannot be crossed. So I was startled by this tidbit reported recently by The Associated Press: When Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, the small town began billing sexual-assault victims for the cost of rape kits and forensic exams.
Ms. Palin owes voters an explanation. What was the thinking behind cutting the measly few thousand dollars needed to cover the yearly cost of swabs, specimen containers and medical tests? Whose dumb idea was it to make assault victims and their insurance companies pay instead? Unfortunately, her campaign is shielding the candidate from the press, so Americans may still be waiting for answers on Election Day.
The rape-kit controversy is a troubling matter. The insult to rape victims is obvious. So is the sexism inherent in singling them out to foot the bill for investigating their own case. And the main result of billing rape victims is to protect their attackers by discouraging women from reporting sexual assaults.
That’s why when Senator Joseph Biden, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, drafted the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, he included provisions to make states ineligible for federal grant money if they charged rape victims for exams and the kits containing the medical supplies needed to conduct them. (Senator John McCain, Ms. Palin’s running mate, voted against Mr. Biden’s initiative, and his name has not been among the long list of co-sponsors each time the act has been renewed.)
That’s also why, when news of Wasilla’s practice of billing rape victims got around, Alaska’s State Legislature approved a bill in 2000 to stop it.
“We would never bill the victim of a burglary for fingerprinting and photographing the crime scene, or for the cost of gathering other evidence,” said Alaska’s then-governor, Tony Knowles. “Nor should we bill rape victims just because the crime scene happens to be their bodies.”
In the absence of answers, speculation is bubbling in the blogosphere that Wasilla’s policy of billing rape victims may have something to do with Ms. Palin’s extreme opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape. Sexual-assault victims are typically offered an emergency contraception pill, which some people in the anti-choice camp wrongly equate with abortion.