Feministe ยป Apparently, Texas Does NOT Charge Victims for Rape Kits.

Well, it seems like it was all a big misunderstanding, and I got taken in, too. According to the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, local law enforcement absorbs the initial cost, up to $700, and is then reimbursed by the state. Further costs are absorbed by the hospital or the law enforcement agency, but the victim’s insurance is not billed.

That’s a relief. But what about Wasilla, Alaska?

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During the 2008 presidential campaign, vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin deservingly took heat for having allegedly made Wasilla rape victims pay for their own “rape kits” — the package of tools required to perform a forensic examination on a rape victim to confirm an attack and collect DNA evidence.

Turns out, it wasn’t just a weird Alaskan thing. The great State of Texas, which has recently made it clear that it reserves the right to secede from the union, makes a point of charging rape victims who cooperate with police for the forensic investigation tools, too. And since everything’s bigger in Texas, the price tag is usually around $1,800.

Jezebel reports that victims who won’t or can’t pay up face ruined credit and debt collectors.

Is there another situation in which the victim of a crime — even an alleged crime — is made to pay for the instruments needed to investigate the allegation and construct a prosecutorial case? I spent some time covering police agencies and criminal courts, and I’m at a loss to think of an example.

The only conceivable reason this could be happening is this: to 1) make marginal budgetary cuts by taking advantage of the humiliation and shame already suffered by rape victims and 2) to discourage rape victims from reporting rapes in the first place.

Sickening.