Posted by: shannynmoore | September 15, 2008

LIFE BEGINS AT RAPE…ASK MAYOR PALIN.

Can you imagine having to pay for the CSI (crime scene investigation-fingerprinting, photography, etc) if your home was robbed? What if a bill came for the breathalyzer tests if you’d been hit by a drunk driver? When Sarah Palin was mayor, the city of Wasilla had the most egregious policy against victims of rape in the state of Alaska, possibly the entire country. The rape kit, a set of items used by medical personnel for gathering and preserving physical evidence following a sexual assault, was charged to the victim. (note: step 6)

I sat with a rape victim during the “harvesting of evidence”. Mascara smeared eyes stared blankly out from a cave of shame. “We’ve got swimmers,” announced the forensic tech in the lab next door. My friend didn’t look surprised. In her 60’s, she was still asked if she felt the need for emergency contraception. Surviving the process would have only been compounded and made worse with an itemized bill; victimized twice courtesy of Sarah Palin and the city of Wasilla.

Much can be learned about the Palin Administration’s family values from reviewing their spending priorities. Former Chief of Police Irl Stambaugh included forensic rape kits (up to $1,200 per kit) in his budget requests. He was fired by Palin in 1997. In her termination letter, Palin wrote, “…I do not feel I have your full support in my efforts to govern the city of Wasilla. Therefore I intend to terminate your employment. . . ” Staumbaugh headed the police department since it was created in 1993. Before that, he served 22 years with the Anchorage Police Department rising to the rank of captain. Sarah Palin hired Charlie Fannon as the new Wasilla Chief of Police and said it was one of her best decisions as mayor. Fannon eliminated the forensic rape kits from the budget. Though the number of rapes weren’t reported, Fannon claimed it would save Wasilla taxpayers $5,000 to $14,000 a year.

When Eric Croft, a Democrat Legislator from Anchorage, learned of Wasilla’s policy, he drafted HB 270, which Governor Tony Knowles signed into law. The new law made it illegal for any law enforcement agency to bill victims or victims’ insurance companies for the costs of examinations to collect evidence of a sexual assault or determine if a sexual assault actually occurred. Upon signing the law, Governor Knowles said, “We would never bill the victim of a burglary for the cost of gathering evidence, nor should we bill rape victims just because the crime scene happens to be their bodies.”

Wasilla Police Chief Fannon protested the new law stating it would require the city and communities to come up with more funds to cover the costs of the forensic exams. Really? Are the true costs of sexual assault and forcible rape in a community only measured and reflected in the dollars spent on the forensic rape kit?

Alaska has the nation’s highest per-capita rate of forcible rape. A disproportionate number of rape and sexual assault victims are Native Alaskan women. Alaska Native people in Anchorage were 9.7 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than others living in the city between 2000 and 2003. Alaska crime statistics never seemed to make a “Northern Exposure” episode. But this isn’t about statistics-real lives were affected by Palin’s regressive policies. One thing Alaska can’t seem to export is the fundamental information around a woman’s rights. Alaska “liberalized” abortion laws before Roe v. Wade. Our dirty secret had to do with a woman’s right to be safe from rapists. This right to choose was not only threatened, but abolished with Sarah Palin’s archaic policy as Mayor of Wasilla. The rape kit included emergency contraception. To be sure, emergency contraception is not, nor does it cause an abortion. In fact, ec prevents pregnancy and therefore reduces abortions.

Under Palin’s Administration, “Life Begins at Rape” for women unable to pay for their forensic evidence gathering. Justice is served to women who can afford it and denied for those who can’t. I live in Alaska-the wealthiest of the 50 states! Forcing rape victims to pay for their own forensic rape kits is something one would expect to find in a fundamentalist country overseas. I have outrage fatigue. I can’t decide which facet of this policy is more upsetting. Is it the denial of justice for the poor? Is it the punishment of women who had been raped? Is it the political policies of a woman so entrenched in the “Pro-Life” movement she would deny justice to a victim? This is not a “Pro-Life” policy. This is a “Pro-Rapist” policy, and forced pregnancy policy.

It should be noted Joe Biden introduced legislation to fund rape kits to women in America. John McCain voted against it.

When Sarah Palin was elected Alaska’s first female governor, I hoped these issues would be addressed as part of her “historic” platform. When Amnesty International published their study on rape statistics and Alaskan women, the response was pathetic. The now dismissed Commissioner of Public Safety, Walt Monegan, acknowledged the lack of law enforcement in Alaska as part of the problem. Since that time, Walt Monegan has been fired and $2.5 million dollars threatened from the budget for State Troopers. John Cyr is executive director of the Public Safety Employees Association, and has been very critical of the Palin administration’s commitment to keep Alaskan’s safer.

Under the Palin Administration, a law was passed that specifically deals with rapists. I am not making this up. It is now illegal for Alaskans to buy or sell the “Rapist No. 1” doll. Oh, you haven’t heard of it? It’s an “action figure” from Quentin Tarantino’s film “Grindhouse.” Yes, really. So now if you’re raped, you can take comfort in knowing Alaska outlawed an action figure.

For all the Alaskans who have taken the charge to protect fellow citizens from predators, this was A GIANT WASTE OF TIME. It’s embarrassing to write this. Who in the hell has been prosecuted for this “outrageous” purchase. Did she think people in Alaska with the propensity to rape women were suddenly dissuaded because they couldn’t buy a movie action figure?

If Alaska’s sexual assault statistics were true for the rest of the country, rape would be considered an epidemic and the National Guard would be called up. As Mayor and Governor, Sarah Palin has made justice illusive to criminals and forensics a commodity that victims must purchase. Meanwhile, rape prevention sits on the backburner. Being a rape victim isn’t necessary for outrage. You don’t need ovaries to protect the physical sanctity of fellow citizens. Life does not begin at rape, it just gets harder.

Please take time to read the fantastic work of Jacob Alperin-Sheriff. He spent a great deal of time researching this story. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacob-alperinsheriff/sarah-palin-instituted-ra_b_125833.html My thanks to Eric Croft, author of HB 270, who explained all the reasons he did so.

****UPDATE***** It has been reported here http://campaignsilo.firedoglake.com/2008/09/17/palin-illegally-redid-mayors-office-like-a-bordello/ that Sarah Palin that Mayor Sarah Palin spent $50,000 on remodeling her city mayor’s office. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN 4 YEARS WORTH OF FUNDING THE RAPE KITS NEEDED IN HER CITY. So let’s see, ugly wallpaper won over funding justice. Sick.

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Responses

  1. Take a look at The Point’s fund-a-swing-state-ad
    against Palin campaign. It appears to be right up your ally:

    http://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/fight-back-broadcast-the-truth-about-sarah-palin

  2. How about a ‘different’ twist when thinking about Alaska’s rape stats…

    Alaska, home to the highest concentration of rapists in America !

    Sounds kinda gross, eh? I have to agree. However, one has to ask, if we got rapes occuring at such a high rates, then does that mean we got lots of rapists?

    Rape is about control and if the stats state that AK Native women are getting ‘controlled’ more than other women in this state… well shucks, who doing all that controlling? Opps, I mean raping? More often than not, I do not like to insert race in those icky stats. But that is because I’m a Alaskan Native chic with some really great daughters.

    Soooooo, I’ll state it again: Alaska, home to the highest concentration of rapists in America !

  3. Very well done Shannon!

    I especially thought the personal touch you put on this makes it much more powerful and informative.

    I have also known a few rape victims and can attest to how much trauma can be added to their horrible experience by unfeeling lab technicians and police officers.

  4. No, you do not have to be a victim to be angry about rape. Judging from my discussions with men I know, you don’t even have to be female.

    And I hear you about outrage fatigue. I think it’s part of why liberals up here can tend toward invisibility – I feel a little ADD trying to keep up with all the worthy causes that deserve my support, some days.

    Obviously, none of the above rambling solves anything. Helpful, I am not.

  5. Hi, I’m Jacob Alperin-Sheriff (I broke the rape kit billing story in comments at Daily Kos as DemocraticLuntz and I’ve been following it up on Huffington Post;

    Anyway, you may want to follow this up; see if Alaska case law has changed since then;

    ALASKA SUPREME COURT RULES CONVICTED SEX ABUSER HAS FATHER’S RIGHTS
    pixel

    pixel
    Author: SHEILA TOOMEY
    Daily News reporter

    Staff
    Date: November 8, 1986
    Publication: Anchorage Daily News (AK)
    Page: 1

    Word count: 925
    pixel

    A man convicted of sex abuse, who got his 14yearold stepdaughter pregnant, has a father’s rights to the child she bore, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled Friday. In a 4to1 decision, the court made it legally possible for Steve Jones, now serving 10 years for sexual assault, to seek visitation rights and exercise other parental authority over his son, referred to as S.J. Jr.

    The decision overturned a Fairbanks Superior Court judge who terminated Jones’ parental rights

    If you can figure anything out, please e-mail it to me at DemocraticLuntz@gmail.com. Thanks

  6. i don’t know how you walk around with all that swirling in your head and not want to grab every Palin supporter by the scruff of the neck and shake the hell out of them. i saw her interview with Gibson and it seemed to me she was trying to appease those on the fence by saying her pro-life views were her private feelings, not public policy initiatives. well, to be an absentee landlord at the gate of your community and simply through up your hands, to be nothing more than a silent enabler of violent offenders and the offenses they sentence their victims to, is not only immoral, it goes against her Christian faith. she said Alaska is a microcosm for the rest of the United States…well, let me just say, i’m very sorry…and forgive me if i don’t want anything of what she’s selling in my backyard.

    keep on, you faithful steward of free speech.

    peace,
    az fan

  7. It’s so important to get this info out there. Thank you!

  8. Maybe the media attention now being focused on Alaska will help bring this shameful situation to the forefront.

    Keep up the fight!

  9. Shannyn
    You know my feelings about this subject.
    I was in the Army from ’63-’66. I had training as a Medic at Ft. Sam Houston, Ft. Benning and Ft. Bragg. While at Ft. Benning there were 5 women that came in with septic abs (infected abortions) they all died and it was a very, very hard death. This was pre Roe v Wade.

    After that I had the better part of 30 years experience in ERs and had seen 1st hand what happens to unwanted children!

    We should NOT, we can NOT, we must NOT to those old horrible days!

  10. Correction for the last sentence

    We should NOT, we can NOT, we must NOT (RETURN) to those old horrible days!

  11. Great writing! I hope this stuff gets out to the mainstream press. Palin’s laundry is DIRTY! Thank you for airing it! She is a fundamentalist woman who is anti woman!

  12. I keep a blog on sexual assault. Is it alright if I like your story to it?

    It’s such an important piece.

  13. great story…I will post it on my blog…..

    I am a rape survivor and this shit on Palin makes me want to spit nails. it boggles my mind why the MSM AND OBAMA are not picking up on this more!

  14. I just wanted to tell you that I read every single word of this article. It was extremely informative and amazingly well written. Kudos to you.

    I am, as you are, just outraged at this. My jaw dropped throughout the entire article and I just can’t believe this person… You know the rest.

    It’s just so nauseating, it’s beyond words to describe how sickened I am.

  15. Hey, a local friend of yours turned me on to your blog site. Although a native of Alaska, I’m down in the lower 48. After all the media attention and stories I was reading I was getting really worried that ALL Alaskans had drank the Palin kool-aid. Our friend sent me to your blog site as evidence that there are still sane people in my home State. After reading your blog, I’m relieved. Keep up the good work!

  16. i live in vermont….
    and just want to extend my appreciation and encouragment and prayers to all alaskans standing up and making their voice heard. as someone on this site said, alaska is front page news right now, and you have and opportunity and responsibility to educate the rest of the US about Palin and her policies.
    thank you so much for your courage and strong voices. Go, Alaska, Go!!!!!

    in peace and solidarity

  17. Thank you so much for covering this issue. I’ve been following it since I first heard about it on September 9th. It’s one of those things that sounded so far out as to be unbelievable. In fact, I spent hours just verifying it.

    God bless you.

  18. The more I read about this story, the more I think Obama has it wrong when he says Palin is the lipstink to McCain’s pig.

    Any government official who would charge a rape victim for the rape kit just because it contains emergency contraceptive (but at the same time bordello paint her public office) is a pig. A dirty rotten stinking pig. And Palin claims to be a woman??? She needs to act like a human being before she can call herself a woman.

    Sheeeeh. …

  19. Just found this on 23/6 Huffington

    http://www.236.com/video/2008/get_your_war_on_sarah_palin_an_9028.php

  20. http://mine.icanhascheezburger.com/view.aspx?ciid=2063255

  21. A very good post. It spurred me to do some digging myself.

    Did you know that Wasilla has such a seemingly high rate of sexual assaults? There were 2.4 sexual assaults per 1,000 people in Wasilla in 1996, Palin’s first year as mayor. It’s a completely different statistic, but the rate for forcible rate nationwide in similarly sized cities was .285 per thousand. I’d be curious to know Wasilla’s actual forcible rape statistics, so as to compare.

    Also, Wasilla today has nearly 2 times the rate of sex offenders (assuming a current populuation of 7,000) as in the state as a whole.

    I’ve expanded on this (and linked to your post along the way) in a TPM post:

    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/2008/09/mccainpalin-rape-victims-and-w.php

  22. why has none of this come out in the media? i had read about tis before and emailed cnn. they got my email but still nothing o the news. i am 78,and have been a champion of womens rights all my life, and palin is scary.

  23. Unbelievable. Thanks for posting this!

  24. Palin makes me sick. I don’t understand how a human being can be so heartless.

  25. I hate to be the devil’s advocate here, but I hate sloppy reporting. When i saw the rape kit controversy, it looked too unbelievabe. What disgusts me is the current polarization of our country. I really wish you had looked at all the facts and written a water-tight unassailable article instead of a biased rant. Otherwise you lose all your credibility and readers, like me.

    I googled the other side of the story and this is what I got:

    http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/274003.php

    Can you please rebut those points from the blog? I have no idea who to believe:

    1. Illinois charges rape victims for their rape kits, too…(wtf???)

    2. You do not include Palin’s statements on the case. Mayor Palin is on record saying she absolutely, categorically would NEVER support charging a victim for a rape kit.

    3. Apparently the issue is over insurance companies picking up the bill and not the city. There has been a state agency the State of Alaska Violent Crimes Compensation Board that since the 1971 has paid victim’s bills for rape cases. Thus, the State of Alaska has paid for rape kits, not the city of Wasilla or many cities in Alaska, or in the lower 48 for that matter.

    3. There is no evidence of anyone in Wasilla ever actually being charged.

    4. Please get your facts straight before you post an article or else you make us all look bad! Do your homework!!!!
    *********NOTE FROM SHANNYN******************************************************************
    Hmmm..confederate yankee? OK

    1) I don’t live in Illinois. No woman, no victim, anywhere should be paying for rape kits. This is not a geographical dilemma, I know Alaska, and that is what I was writing about.
    2) Mayor Palin never said squat about it. Only did she make a statement after this story came out when she was VP Nominated Palin.
    3) The issue is about one town in Alaska, Wasilla, that would not change their policy. They were lobbied to do so, and a state law was passed by Rep Eric Croft to make it illegal for them to do so. Even when the law was passed, Fannon, the police chief fought it. The State of Alaska only pays when it is a trooper case, not a municipal case. That is why the state law makes munis pay for their own, not the victims. Sarah Palin is very hands on and this law was very public and took 7 months to push through to signing. There is no way she did not know.
    3) You had two 3s.
    4)There is evidence at the Rape Crisis Center. They worked hard to get Wasilla to change their law before asking Eric Croft to take over when they could make no headway. Because of confidentiality agreements you understand why they haven’t opened their files. Charlie Fannon said it would cost the tax payers $4K – $14K per year….WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT WAS COMING FROM? Bake sales?
    5) Did I make you look bad? I haven’t made me look bad. Unless you live here, and have been on the ground for years, talked to the people who lobbied her, discussed the bill with people who wrote it or unanimously passed it (BECAUSE OF CONFIDENTIAL EVIDENCE OF WHY THE LAW WAS NEEDED; WASILLA) then you have no base to judge. Did you actually think Sarah’s spokesmodel would come out and say “Oh, yeah, she did that, oops, sorry ladies”. I’ve been at hours of their “Truthiness” seminars over the last few weeks and THEY LIE.
    Hope this clears it up for you. Rape kits suck, even when they are free.

  26. I think the point is that there is no evidence that anyone was ever billed in Wasilla. If you can find real evidence and not just suppositions, I’d like to see it. If the files are closed, i want to see the press release saying “sorry, those files are closed” not “no evidence was found”. I need something more substantial than hearsay!

    Facts, not inferences. You’re only proof is that a guy said it could cost $14,000. What is that source, did he just make the number up off his head? What is he citing? Who’s his source?

    My apologies for having trouble counting past 3…

  27. Hey Greg…

    Maybe you ought to stick to the right wing nut lies at your confederate yankee site. While we’re having a peaceful protest on Saturday, maybe you can join your nutty buddies and burn crosses in black folks’ yards. Stick to what you know, ass! BTW….you’re is “YOU ARE”…while you’re (YOU ARE) burning crosses, maybe you could take a weekend writing course!

    Wasilla charged the victim for their forensic rape kits. PERIOD. “Confederate Yankee” isn’t based here and they are repeating right wing spin BS. Palin’s fundamental views didn’t jive with the fact that those forensic kits offered emergency contraception-NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH AN ABORTION PILL, IT’S NOT-to victimized women.

    So, I take it you have personally talked to former Rep Eric Croft, who wrote HB270 specifically for Wasilla…No? Well butt out and STFU!

  28. I am speechless. Seriously, Palin is a disgrace to women. I would have thought that having a woman in the office would be better than a man- apparently i was wrong- at least with this woman. Obama, here I come!

  29. A member of my immediate family was raped when she was 15. Forced into a stranger’s car, driven to a secluded area, choked, raped anally, made to hold the business end of a pistol in her mouth, raped vaginally, told she would be killed if she didn’t stop crying, choked some more, then she was raped orally. I am leaving out some of the more gruesome details. Honestly. I cannot imagine (1) how a compassionate person would force her to pay for her rape kit, and (2) how a VP candidate would support an abortion law that makes no exception for pregnancies caused by rapists and incest (often the rape of a minor child). Talk about kicking a person when she’s down. You tell my family why our raped child would have to bear the child of her rapist? Hasn’t he done enough? Do we really need the government to join in for a gang bang? Meh.

  30. thank you for very interesting article , want good luckthank you for very interesting article , want good luck

  31. Since the Mudflats Forum is down at this time, at least for me. I didn’t know where else to put this, or if it really matters. The quy(Confederate Yankee-Because liberalism is a persistent vegetative state.) is claiming that the “charging for rape kits” is a lie. Here are a few quotes

    “A small liberal blog started the rumor, apparently after two Democratic Party researchers scoured the archives of the Frontiersman for dirt, and came up with an ambiguous story from 2000, that quickly bounced to an muckraking liberal blog.”

    I think the Yankee is nuts, but that is just my opinion.

    http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/274580.php

  32. Well, maybe she said she would not support having rape victims pay for rape kits, what does that say when she approves a budget that does not include them, I’d say that action speaks louder than words!

    As one who unfortunately became a victim of “date rape” in another small community in AK who shall remain unnamed and before it became known as a crime, I find it unconscionable to expect a victim to pay for their own rape kit!

    Perhaps this is Palin’s pro-life strategy for preventing abortions!

  33. Ghastly, all I can say is Ghastly.

  34. I’m not sure if I could dis-like this woman any more than I do already.

    ¶ AIO

  35. That is pathetic. Why would any victim ever have to pay for a rape kit. That just ads insult to injury. Any politician that supports a rape victim paying for a rape kit should not be elected again!

  36. […] them. Her social policy views, from her rejection of scientific evidence on global warming to her opposition to publicly funding emergency contraception for rape victims, are explicitly influenced by the […]


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