The cost of being a victim

Jessica Lewis

Being the victim of a rape or sexual assault must be a horrible and painful experience, and in most cases, police and medical professionals do everything they can to minimize that pain. That’s why I was shocked when I read an article today about rape victims in Texas who are  being charged for medical expenses related to the collection of evidence for rape kits.

Statistics show that every two minutes, someone is the victim of an attempted or successful sexual assault. That’s not a number to be proud of, but with the regularity of these incidents, you would think the technicalities of handling things like medical exams would be easy to follow. Apparently that is not the case in Texas, where despite the existence of a fund dedicated to paying for those expenses, many women are receiving bills for medical exams related to their assault. If the bills go unpaid, phone calls from bill collectors and threats of damaging their credit score convince many women to pay the bills, even though they should never have to.

I understand that like everything else, the medical field is a business and businesses need to cover their expenses, but instead of going after a victim in these types of cases, why can’t the hospitals harass the agencies who should be responsible for footing the cost. Reason, logic and humanity should be a factor, because if the victims of sexual assault start to think that they are not only going to have to relive their assault, but also pay unnecessary bills in order to report their ordeal, women will be given another reason not to report these crimes.