Thursday, September 11, 2008

She made the victim pay, but she's Sarah Palin, so it's okay.

Is it sexist to claim that Sarah Palin supported charging rape victims for the cost of evidence collection? Not yet, but if these are the best talking points that the Republican Party can manufacture to defend Sarah Palin, they may revert back to that excuse.

Excuse 1: She made the victim pay, but she didn't want the victim to pay, so it's okay.

The Police Chief of Wasilla who oversaw this policy may have been wrong to argue that the government should not cover the cost of the tests, but note that he did not want the victim to pay; he wanted to charge the perpetrators the cost.

Note: Before you can charge the rapist for the evidence collection, you must sentence the rapist for the crime, which means you must convict the rapist of the crime, which is made more difficult if the victim can't afford to pay the police to collect the evidence of the crime.

Excuse 2: She made the victim pay, but there weren't that many victims, so it's okay.

An aide to a Democratic state legislator tells USA Today that women in Wasilla did pay out of pocket for their rape kits. According to available FBI statistics, there were five rapes in Wasilla during the three years that they have online records for. The newspaper does the town a disservice by citing the statewide numbers and saying the state has the highest rate of rapes per person.

Excuse 3: She made the victim pay, but so did other mayors, so it's okay.

Starting next year, federal law will ban the practice of refusing "to cover the estimated $800 cost of a forensic rape exam unless the victim files a police report." That is the policy in "many" jurisdictions, according to the AP.

Note: Sarah Palin's opponent, Joe Biden, is responsible for the federal law that would ban her practice of charging rape victims.

Excuse 4: She made the victim pay, but she didn't know she made the victim pay, so it's okay.

Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella told USA Today in an e-mail that the governor "does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test." Her critics can legitimately ask why, as mayor, she didn’t overrule her police chief. But they cannot charge that she supported the policy. In fact, there is not yet any evidence that Palin was aware of this policy.

I can only assume the next excuse will involve Sarah Palin's evil twin, the one really responsible for every policy that Sarah Palin supported but didn't know she supported, or for every policy she now opposes but said she supported.