Rape survivors in New Jersey are being billed for their own rape kits.
A "rape kit," or sexual assault forensic evidence kit, is the collection of any physical evidence a rapist might have left behind. The invasive exam, which can include vaginal swabs and blood tests, is often a traumatic experience for a recent victim -- but the collection of evidence is vital in finding and prosecuting the perpetrator.
“In no other crime would it even be contemplated that victims receive an invoice for the collection of evidence needed to prosecute the offenders,” stated Sen. Diane Allen, who decided to put a stop to this "inhumane practice" by sponsoring legislation that would protect survivors from being harassed for payment. Allen continued: "Victims who receive a bill are needlessly forced to relive their attack all over again by the very people to whom they turned for help."
The fact is, rape survivors aren't supposed to have to pay for these evidence kits: the invoice should go to a government agency. But health care administrators looking for a payout often try to collect from a victim anyway.
The legislation to bar providers from billing rape victims passed through both houses of the NJ legislature with strong support -- but Gov. Chris Christie has failed to sign the legislation, which has been waiting on his approval for well over a month.
According to Think Progress, his office says the bill is still "under review." What about supporting rape victims requires so much thought? More importantly: Gov. Christie has until the Senate reconvenes on August 25th to sign or veto this bill. While under NJ rules it can become law without his signature, since he's still reviewing the legislation and has given no hint of support, we need to make sure he doesn't try to slip by a last-minute veto.
Sign this petition to tell Gov. Christie not to stick rape survivors with the bill.
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