Monday, September 22, 2008

Sarah Palin's Town Charged Women for Rape Exams

Here comes another disturbing fact about Sarah Palin. While Sarah Palin was mayor, Wasilla charged victims for their rape exams. Despite denials by the Palin campaign, new evidence proves that as mayor of Wasilla she had a direct role in charging rape victims for exams.

Wasilla cut funds that had previously paid for the medical exams and began charging victims or their health insurers the $500 to $1200 fees for the rape exam. The city budget documents show Palin read and signed off on a new budget that slashed the budget for the exams.

Police chief Duwayne Charles Fannon halved the budget request in 1997-1998, with a request of $7,298, spending only $3,454. It seems he began making victim's pay in the 1998-1999 fiscal year. That year, he requested $3,000 but spent only $205. This information can be found in the Document Central section of Wasilla’s website.

The document for the 1998-1999 fiscal year says to the citizens of the city of Wasilla: "To the best of our knowledge and belief, the enclosed data is accurate in all material respects and is reported in a manner designed to fairly present the financial position and results of operations of the various funds and account groups of the City."

Under the words “Respectfully submitted,” is the signature of Sarah Palin. This shows she was aware of the change in the billing policy. To see Palin’s signature in Wasilla’s 1999 Financial Report, download the full report here.

To make matters worse, for years, Alaska has had the worst record of any state in rape. The rape rate in Alaska is 2.5 times the national average.

Rape victims are already traumatized by the horrible experience they had to endure. To have to pay for their rape exam makes the trauma even worse for them. Why would anyone do this to a victim of a heinous crime?

This questions Palin's desire to help women. Not only were rape victim's charged for their exams, there was only a small funding increase for domestic violence shelters at a time when Alaska had a multibillion-dollar budget surplus. Palin cut funding for a number of programs that treat female victims of violence.

Palin's office released e-mails showing that one area of disagreement between her and Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan was his lobbying in Washington for $30 million to fund a new program of sexual assault response teams.

The practice of charging rape victims has called into question Palin’s stated commitment to women’s issues, her judgment as an executive and her honesty about her record. But of course, she "knew nothing about it." C'mon. Her lies and decisions get worse every day.

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