Justice

5 Things That Are Cheaper Than Getting a Rape Kit Tested

For many victims of sexual assault, trauma continues long after the crime is committed.

In certain U.S. states, victims are slammed with steep hospital bills for getting rape kits tested.

Hospitals charge victims between $800 and $1,500 to process a rape kit, Alternet reports. This can place an enormous financial burden on sexual assault survivors.

To put this in perspective, here are five things that are cheaper than testing a rape kit.

1. A new Macbook Air

For most people, a new Macbook can break the bank.

But at $899, an 11-inch Macbook Air puts less of a dent in your wallet than it would cost to process forensic evidence of a sexual assault.

2. A month's rent in a luxury studio apartment

House hunters who fancy the finer things in life might eagerly dish out $1,435 rent for a studio apartment in Los Angeles with a rooftop pool.

luxury apt

However, the housing crisis is only getting worse in cities across America. As it stands, a minimum wage worker can't earn enough money to make rent for a one-bedroom unit in any U.S. state, according to a June report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. For most people, a $1,435 studio is virtually unaffordable.

A similar comparison can be drawn when it comes to getting a rape kit tested. If you work a minimum wage or low-paying job, $800 to $1,500 is a huge chunk of change. Asking survivors to bear that cost in order to pursue justice places an enormous financial burden on them, especially considering how difficult it is to cover even the most basic costs of living on a low income.

3. Swanky Saint Laurent platforms

The Cut's "Treat Yourself" column recently featured 5-inch Saint Laurent platform heels that look straight out of Studio 54. Considering their $895 price tag, they certainly constitute a major splurge.

shoes

There's nothing wrong with indulging in a pricey pair sandals every now and then — it is, as Carrie Bradshaw once put it, within "a woman's right to shoes." Getting a rape kit tested, on the other hand, does not entail "treating yo' self," yet it carries a similar or greater price tag.

4. Gwyneth Paltrow’s favorite 24k gold vibrator

Actress and GOOP founder Gwyneth Paltrow is a big fan of opulent erotic toys.

vibrator

One of her picks, a laser-engraved Lelo vibrator, runs $399. Hopefully, its "exclusive SenseMotion™ technology" won't enhance your disgust about the astronomical cost of testing rape kits.

5. A trip across the pond

If victims of sexual assault receiving crazy expensive hospital bills makes you want to flee the country, you can hop a plane to London for a bargain $427, according to Expedia listings for Monday, July 25 flights.

Exploring the aftermath of Brexit could also provide a compelling distraction from talk of the Republican National Convention.

How is this even a thing?

The reason survivors can end up paying these bills is somewhat complicated. Though the federal Violence Against Women Act prohibits it, the act isn't totally clear about its enforcement at the state level, according to Slate. In certain states, these loopholes mean that victims end up footing the bill. Many states struggle to fund and process rape kits.

Ohio and certain other states will subsidize only part of the cost of a rape exams, Slate explains, while Minnesota, Kansas, Arizona, South Dakota, and Nevada mandate that these costs are handled by individual counties.

In 2014, CBS reported that California victims' rape kits were only covered if they had already filed a police report, violating the VAWA. In 2015, Louisiana and Illinois passed laws to eliminate these loopholes.

[h/t Alternet]