The Huffington Post reported on Illinois’ new rape kit law, which would require investigating law enforcement agencies to submit all evidence of sexual assault to the crime lab within 10 days of receiving it from a hospital. However, the New York Times points out a loophole in the law language (“if sufficient staffing and resources are available”) and The Curvature remarks, “In cases where a victim knows hir rapist and the accused claims that all sexual contact was consensual — a majority of cases — the rape kit doesn’t do a whole lot…But I say that anyone who subjects themselves to what is usually the indignity and invasion of a rape kit examination damn well deserves to have hir law enforcement agency take that effort and sacrifice seriously.”
I say Illinois’ new law is an incredible step in the right direction (good going, home state!), certainly lightyears ahead of Gov. Jindal’s manadatory ultrasound law for abortion with no rape exemption, as RH Reality Check reported, or Sharron Angle’s advice to a pregnant victim of incest to turn lemons into lemonade, as Change.org pointed out.
There was unfortunately too much news this week regarding violence against women, with Mel Gibson hogging the spotlight as the most visible victim-blamer. The LAPD has luckily arrested a man known as the “Grim Sleeper” who has been accused of sexually assaulting and killing 11 victims (ps, what’s with all the cutesy names for perpetrators of violent acts? Rape and murder is not “sleeping” just as the DC man who broke into women’s homes and touched himself was not a “hugger” or whatever they called him – it belittles the gravity of the assault).
Children, as always, made devastating headlines. First, a New Jersey man was arrested for raping (and thus killing) a 7-month old girl. In New York, a man robbed a 3-year old girl and was attempting sexual assault when neighbors discovered him. And in Ohio, a 31-year old woman posed as a teenage boy to assault a 16-year old girl. But what’s more, as Gawker pointed out, the media was trying to pinpoint the story as a real-life Boys Don’t Cry, which is taking a story about transsexual tragedy and likening it to child abuse. Good call on pointing out that fail. Another media fail, as NOW aptly pointed out, was a graphic depiction of sexual violence on True Blood.
Gender Across Borders has a brave post from a rape survivor about coping and opening up to new lovers: “In the past I tried to talk to old boyfriends about it, but they didn’t want to hear it, or didn’t want to believe it. They denied my story when I needed their support. I couldn’t believe my ears when my exes did what society so often does in cases of sexual assault—they blamed me, the victim.”
What are some positive things that people are doing to combat sexual assault that you’ve seen this past week?
Amanda is the author of the blog, The Undomestic Goddess.