Under the renewed Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), states will be required to pay for anonymous rape kits starting next year. The requirement is aimed at removing obstacles to prosecuting rape cases, reports the Associated Press.
Rape kits are usually free if the rape victim agrees to file a police report. Requiring states to pay the $800 for "Jane Doe rape kits" gives rape victims time to choose whether or not to prosecute. According to the Associated Press, the FBI has recommended that states pay for anonymous rape tests since 1999.
Anne Bean, clinical director for a rape and sexual assault counseling program in Cecil County, Maryland, said, "Many times you have people who were drunk, maybe doing drugs, maybe they’re underage, and you start talking about the police and they get scared. So, sometimes it’s not until long after [that] they’re willing to report, at which point of course any physical evidence is gone."
The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that 60 percent of all rapes and sexual assault are not reported. One out of six women in the US have been victims of rape or attempted rape.
Media Resources: Associated Press 05/13/08; AHN 05/13/08; Salon 05/14/08; Feministing.com 05/14/08; RAINN Reporting Rates