Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Rape Victim Jailed

Widespread availability of Plan B doesn't help anything in jail.

(Gasparilla is a pirate festival where Tamps goes Mardi Gras. With beads, parades, and a sea-to-land invasion, the city goes nuts celebrating pirates who terrorized the seas of Florida.)

Last Saturday at Gasparilla, a 21-year old woman was raped. She then took a twenty minute walk to her car and called the police. She was riding in the front seat of the police car when the police learned of two outstanding warrants for the victim in Sarasota County. The warrants involved the payment of restitution for a juvenile crime.

Instead of looking for her rapist, the cops cuffed her, put her in the backseat, and took her to jail. She stayed there for two days. No bail.

It gets worse. The victim was allowed a rape exam, where she obtained emergency contraception to prevent a baby resulting from the rape. Twelve hours later, when her next dose was due, a medical supervisor at the prison refused to give her the pill for religious reasons. In fact, the girl waited 36 hours before "media inquiries" forced the jail to give her the second dose. This is unacceptable.

The girl was finally released on bail. The police department is supposedly planning to increase the time allowed before arresting a person for an outstanding warrant. In any case, this should never happen again.
In this story, we have a woman who had her freedom taken away three times. First, her rapist took her power, her sexuality, her body away. The police then pushed her down even further, cuffing her and, literally, putting her behind bars. Then she was denied Plan B: the choice to control her body and keep away an unwanted child. I can't believe how insensitive these people were.

I'm trying to see it from the cops' point of view. Apparently, they arrested the girl on a sergeant's orders. Still. If anyone can give me the other side of it, it would be appreciated.


Just wanted to thank all of you who commented on the Electric Youth post. I only sought one side of the story through a documentary that was, according to the commenters, severely skewed in its viewpoint. Thank you for your input.

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