I recently read that women in Mauritania , located in a Northern area on the continent of Africa , are punished for the crime of being a rape victim. The government of Mauritania is so morally confused and crude, and primitive that they actually press charges rape victims who dare to reports this personal crime of violence. The Mauritanian government victimize the victims of rape, because they have both poorly defined laws and a cultural stigma about sex crimes that allows them to criminalize the victims rather than the offenders. Eyer Chaim of the Association for Maternal and Child Health, working out of the Nouakchott police commissioner's office in a division that handles crimes against children, said, " I knew so many victims who refused to report to the police or go for treatment. They prefer suffering in silence to hide their disgrace from a gossiping community. "
How stupid. How stunningly wrong. It is so easy for Americans, citizens of a super power founded on the rule of law, and a system that places checks and balances on every branch of government, to look at these backward, ignorant, compassionless, amoral Mauritania jerks. It is easy, but that doesnt make us superior.
Back during the long arduous Presidential campaign, many of us were shocked to learn that when Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla, her administration charged rape victims for the cost of their own rape kits. Now I read that Texas is also charging women for their rape kits as well. Are their other cities or states that charge rape victims for the cost of their own rape kits?
How many Americans think, "Gees, Max, whats the prob. Those dang rape kits are expensive. Who should pay for the rape kits? Are you going to make the tax payers, who havent been raped, pay for the rape kits for rape victims?"
Those that support charging raped women for their own rape kits are two things:
1) they are Libertarians who think all taxes are bad, always, under all circumstances, and everyone should pay their own way all the time, period, and
2) woman who are raped somehow deserve what has happened to them, that it is easier for a woman to run with her dress up than for a man to run with his pants down, that women that dress provocatively are asking for it.
Rape is not only a traumatic crime, a crime that sometimes ends with another crime (murder), but rape is a crime where the trauma just keeps on coming long after the perpetrator has made his get-away. When a woman reports a rape, her body IS the crime scene. A rape victim who has the courage to report this crime is typically asked by investigators to undress over a large sheet of white paper so that law enforcement can collect hairs or fibers. Next the crime victim is required to submit her naked body to examination under ultraviolet light, to having her body photographed, including close ups on her vaginal area, and she is then thoroughly swabbed all over with focus given to her mouth, vagina, and anus as the forensic investigators search for the rapists DNA .
Now Im a crude guy, in my late fifties. I dont resemble any known male sex symbols, ever. I'm too fat, wrinkled, covered with surgical scars, and I dont even like to see my naked body in a shower fogged mirror. I can't imagine the indignity of being submitted to an examination anything like what rape victims are forced to endure, and to endure it hours after being raped.
Add to all this fact another: that the processing of a rape kit is nothing at all like what you see on CSI . Grissom and his team can gather rape kit evidence, and when we come back from a commercial they have DNA results, and are well on their way to catching the bad guy. In reality, rape kids usually sits around in an evidence locker, unexamined, unopened, and waiting for months, years, and sometimes forever because the evidence is considered a low priority by forensic scientists.
Now, imagine that you were brave enough to do what had to be done so that law enforcement could track down and arrest the rapist and protect other woman and children from being victims of this horrible, violent, invasive crime, and a week later you get a bill in the mail for $1200 to pay for the rape kit?
How can anyone be in favor of charging rape victims for the cost of investigating their crime? It seems crazy and heartless to me, but the fact is there are many who think this is just absolutely fine and dandy. What else are we going to charge for? Will we send bills to the families of murder victims to investigate the murder of their husbands, or fathers, or little girls?
Do tax payers have a responsibility to pay for the investigation of crimes against ourselves? If you oppose taxation to investigate crimes what would you put in its place? Vigilantism? You want us all to carry guns and become the cop, the judge, the jury, and the executioner? Is that the kind of country you want to live in? Do you really want to live in a nation where every man (and woman and child) is for himself? If you cant afford a gun, well, you should work harder. If you arent strong enough, or a good enough shot, or rich enough to hire body guards, or if you have no family or friends willing to avenge wrongs inflicted against you well, you are SOL and thats your problem.
We call nations with a government, and a will to follow and finance law a civilization. We are civilized because we dont live like animals, we are not a nation where everyone is looking out for number one, and screw everyone else who is not me.
"I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization." ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
There will always be crazy tax haters who oppose all taxes and see no contradiction in traveling on roads financed by taxes, or collecting social security and using Medicare when they are old, and having ships, and plans, and tanks, and bombs and thousands of military folk to defend our nation. I am pretty sure that if you are one of these Libertarians, tax hating extremists you probably stopped reading this article a long time ago and have added my name to the list of those socialist bastards that need to be killed.
If we cherish important public values like justice and equality, then we must have a public sector that is strong enough and well-funded enough to ensure that access to justice and equality are available to every person regardless of their personal wealth, or their personal support system. Introverted people, grumpy people, slow witted and handicapped folk, Christians, atheists, whites, blacks, and browns must all have the same protection under our civilized nation. Anything less, is on a continuum that ends with Somalia .