Victims Charged For Rape Kits In Wasilla, Alaska

While Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was mayor of her hometown of Wasilla, the city charged rape victims for their own rape examinations and her police chief fought to continue the practice as late as 2000. Wasilla was the only city to continuously resist a state law requiring cities to foot the bill for the exams, while Palin was in office from 1996 to 2000, said former State Representative Eric Croft, a Democrat who sponsored the legislation. A state law did however ban the practice in 2000. As the Republican Vice Presidential nominee, Palin often discusses her record as mayor of Wasilla, population approximately 7,000, which has led to close scrutiny of that record. Wasilla’s practice of billing rape victims for their rape exams while Palin was in office has gotten a great deal of coverage on the web and in the mainstream media. However, the question that keeps coming up is whether Palin knew of the practice and the police chief’s determination to continue it. Some Palin supporters say she didn’t know rape victims were being charged. And a review of records and interviews offers no proof that Palin knew what was going on. However, critics say it is “outrageous” that she didn’t know and question her commitment to helping women who are victims of abuse or rape. The rape rate in Alaska is 2.5 times the national average, making it the worst record of any state. Croft said it seems unlikely Palin was unaware of the situation. “I find it hard to believe that for six months a small town, a police chief, would lead the fight against a statewide piece of legislation, receiving unanimous support and the mayor not know about it,” Croft said. Since Palin seems to be responsible for securing the female vote for the Republican Party in the presidential election, I doubt she will admit to knowing that Wasilla charged rape victims for their rape exams. In the end, it’s up to voters to decide whether her record is in accordance with their views. [CNN]