Rape victims in Louisiana are apparently getting assaulted twice. The sexual assault is being followed up by excessive hospital bills, and the state’s women’s organization is outraged.
Rape is one of the worst crimes committed, leaving the victim to live with emotional damage even if the physical trauma might not be extensive. In some cases, the physical damage can be enough to require medical attention. The victim may discover they have acquired HIV or have been struck and potentially disabled by their attacker.
Now it seems that massive hospital bills are adding to the problems. Charlotte Klasson, President of the Louisiana Chapter of NOW (National Organization for Women), was shocked to discover this.
“[It’s] a form of political extortion to discourage the pursuit of prosecution of crimes of sexual assault.”
Klasson said on behalf of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals that it was a result of proactive failure to respond to the issue.
The first step for rape victims in Louisiana is to file a police report with charges against the rapist. This requires them to ensure that they have not committed any felonies themselves in the past five years, and having not done anything to “encourage” the crime, such as underage drinking. If you think about this, it means that anyone who has committed a recent crime is allegedly incapable of reporting sexual assault because the judge may claim it was partly the victim’s fault.
Attorney and feminist activist Clay Latimer says that isn’t the end of the nightmare women face.
“Anticipating a $2,000 medical bill is really going to discourage them from going to the hospital. Not just reporting it law enforcement, but even getting your medical needs met.”
Some might say this combination of facts points to the idea that Louisiana is legalizing rape.
Sadly, Louisiana isn’t the only state that appears to be making things difficult for rape victims. Less than 20 states will pay for medical exams, pregnancy tests, or HIV tests.
This has truly pissed me off early in the morning. Thoughts on this?… http://t.co/CeMoN57kUF
— Zane (@AuthorZane) September 30, 2014
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has made a statement about accusations that they are encouraging sexual assault.
“We take a strong stand against sexual violence. Our heart goes out to victims of these crimes. This is a result of disjointed local parish health policies, as well as a poor legacy charity system that was run inefficiently for many years. We will work with the Legislature and the partners to address this and ensure sexual assault victims are provided the services they need, and also make sure we are doing everything we can to fight sexual violence.”
While Senators J.P. Morrell and Helena Moreno are planning to fix the problem by April, some rape victims in Louisiana might not be able to wait that long.
[image via Fox 8 Live]