The State of Texas is currently demanding that rape victims pay for their own rape kits—and if they don't, they face ruined credit and debt collectors. An average rape kit can cost up to $1800.
The State of Texas currently has over 66 million dollars in its Crime Victims Compensation Fund, but refuses to allow any of that money to go to rape victims until all other means of paying for the kits are exhausted. "The legislature set it up that way," says Attorney General spokesman Jerry Strickland.
"I know what it's like to be raped," writes Cara of Feministe, "But I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to be raped and then charged a ridiculous sum of money as a direct result. I can't imagine what it's like to be raped and then be billed for it several months later. It absolutely churns my stomach, though. The victim featured in this case has had her bills dropped by the hospital as a result of the media attention. But how many women have not gone to the media and just paid? How many didn't go the media and had their credit ruined because they couldn't pay? And how many will fall into both categories after this point?"
Kelly Young of the Houston Area Women's Center says the issue is more about a lack of proper processing and information than anything else: "They're not dotting the Is and crossing the Ts to make sure that the person who was victimized does not have to re-live it six months later because they get a bill," Young says, "There may be lots of survivors who have this happen and we don't know because they don't know that they shouldn't be getting the bills. A lot of people aren't going to ask. They're just going to go ahead and pay it and move forward with their lives. They don't want to keep re-living that experience.
Texas Hospitals Charging Sexual Assault Victims For Rape Detection Kits [Vancouver Sun]
Texas Charges Victims For Rape Kits [Feministe]
Texas Is Charging Rape Victims Who Cooperate With Police [ThinkProgress]
Rape Victim Billed For Evidence Costs [Click2Houston]