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Women's Bodies

Raped Woman Jailed, Denied Emergency Contraception


A 21-year old pre-med student in Tampa Bay, Florida last Saturday for the Gasparilla Parade was raped as she returned to her car.  She called the police who escorted her to a rape crisis center where she was examined and received the first of two doses of a morning after pill, the second of which she was to receive within 24 hours.  After she left the rape crisis center, she rode with police in their patrol car attempting to find the scene of the rape in the dark.   Meanwhile, for reasons known not only to them but also to all of us who understand that policemen are rarely friends to women — and particularly raped women, and particularly if they, themselves,  have raped women, which many of them have — did a police check on her and came up with a warrant issued three years ago because she hadn’t paid restitution on a burglary and grand theft charge when she was 17.

At that point, they stopped looking for the rape scene, put handcuffs on her, and threw her in jail where she spent the next two days.  When she asked for her second dose of emergency contraception, a jail worker refused to  provide it because it was against her religious convictions to provide emergency contraceptions, even to rape victims.

Her attorney had to go to the press before she was released.

In the reports I’ve read of this, there is all of this scrambling, people saying the policy is a flawed policy, the policy wasn’t violated, understand, but it needs to be changed, it isn’t any one person that is at fault, it is the “system” that is at fault, and so on.

Well, yes, the system is definitely at fault and the policies are definitely flawed and have already, as I understand, been changed.

Here’s what I haven’t read so far, so I will say it.

These policemen had no reason to run a police check on this woman.  They ran it because they were looking for something, anything, any reason, to discredit her and to punish her.  And why?  Because many men resent the hell out of women who report that they have been raped.  Because many men don’t believe women when they say they’ve been raped.  Because many men believe women should be raped, especially if they are traditionally attractive and are wearing clothes men think invite rape.  Because many men want to make it more difficult for women to report rape, especially men who, themselves,  have raped women.

There is a lot of backtracking going on now about the refusal to provide emergency contraception.  Jail officials are saying it wasn’t about the religious convictions of the staff person, it was just that they couldn’t dispense certain medications.  They are saying that’s all the staff person said, that it wasn’t possible to provide emergency contraception.

Right.  Because we all know that raped women are liars.  They just make this stuff up.  When in fact, it’s the jailers, isn’t it, who are making things up now, it’s the jail employee, as well, denying what has the last ring of truth in the ears of all of us, as women, who know exactly how these things go down.

I hope this woman sues the asses off of every last one of these people whose  job it is to protect women against rapists and other kinds of dangerous men.   I wish it were not so often the case, that in fact, when women are raped, it is to dangerous men  to whom they must turn for “help.”





6 thoughts on “Raped Woman Jailed, Denied Emergency Contraception

  1. Isn’t this an awful story? It is a winnable suit, however.

    Posted by profacero | February 1, 2007, 10:52 pm
  2. The worst fear that a raped person has is to have nobody believing her and then blame her for causing the rape. I never imagined it could get worse than that till you posted this. A raped woman put into jail and the police stop investigating her case.

    The police are just looking for an excuse NOT to do their job properly. Just because she had committed crimes before it doesn’t mean that the rape didn’t happen. Which offence is more serious? Rape of course! Obviously not to the policemen who didn’t care about justice.

    Posted by MJ | February 3, 2007, 4:02 pm
  3. I hope she sues them successfully. The least they could have done was to contact the medical centre that prescribed the EC course, and to make arrangements for its completion.

    This is the list of things this woman now has to worry about: that the EC failed and she may be pregnant; may have to go through a abortion if pregnant; she may have an STD; she was raped; the police aren’t pursuing the rape investigation; she has to sort out the old charges against her.

    Meanwhile, back at the Patriarchy HQ, things are going swimmingly.

    Posted by stormy | February 4, 2007, 3:35 am
  4. hi, just letting you now you got a swedish feminist fan.. i´m gonna get you some swedish readers.. keep up the good work! 🙂

    Posted by sidekick | February 12, 2007, 5:06 pm
  5. gosh this is so awful saying this i was raped when i was 12 and lost my virginity to the rape i knew no one would belive me so i never told any one i always felt if i told someone they would say i was a slut and asked for it or i was just making this up to get attention im still glad to this day i didnt tell anyone because it s devasting for no one to believe in your situation for awa hile when i was young im old now i was s cared of sex and then i just let men use me because i didnt want to be forced i even beg for sex now that im old just so i feel im not being forced i just never want to be forced and im always scared of being raped again i hope to god it never happens agian i always worried about that so i just let men do what ever to me i cant say anymore because its so upsetting to me for it to happen to me and then no one to belive in me

    Posted by lindy | February 9, 2008, 4:15 am
  6. Lindy,
    Your story breaks my heart and makes me so angry at the system and the men behind it. Thank you for your bravery in speaking out to us.
    No woman ever ever ever deserves to be raped. I don’t care if she is walking down the street naked, her body is her own and it is her home.

    Posted by shy virago | February 22, 2008, 12:27 am

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