Rape victim thrown in jail, denied EC

You’ve got to love a system that allows a rape survivor to be thrown in jail after reporting the assault.
A young woman was raped by a man who grabbed her as she was walking to her car from a local parade. After she called police and reported the crime, it was discovered that she had an arrest warrant out for her.

It was from an arrest when the woman was a juvenile and she was accused of not paying restitution. The woman says she was not aware there was a warrant out for her, and her attorney says it appears to be a paperwork error.
“They were more interested in prosecuting her for something that’s a paperwork snafu from four years ago, that was juvenile. They were more interested in working on that than finding an experienced rapist,” stated the victim’s mother.
Still, the woman was put in handcuffs and taken to jail. She was not allowed bond, and the medical staff at the jail refused to give her the Morning After Pill even though it had been prescribed at the hospital.

Apparently the medical supervisor at the jail wouldn’t allow her to take EC because it was against her religion.
“So, here we have a medical supervisor imposing her beliefs on a rape victim,” said attorney Virlyn Moore. “As a human being, how someone could be so violated by this monster and then the system comes along and rapes her again psychologically and emotionally – it’s outrageous and unconscionable.”
The young woman was arrested on a Saturday, and wasn’t able to leave jail until Monday afternoon. After being raped. Just sit on that one for a while. Unbelievable.

Via Feminists to the Rescue.

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41 Comments

  1. Ayla
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    This is possibly the worst thing I’ve heard in my life.

  2. Posted January 30, 2007 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I wonder if there was any sort of way she could sue the medical supervisor for emotional distress? Especially if she ended up pregnant from the attack because she was denied the medication.
    I think more legal action needs to be taken against these people refusing access to EC because of their own beliefs. Would we allow someone to refuse medication to someone because of their race, gender, sexuality, or class? (But I’m not a lawyer, I just play one on the internet.)

  3. kpsisu
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I wish it were uncommon for victims of sexual assault to be treated badly when dealing with the system. This is why so many assaults go unreported.
    My heart goes out to this woman. This should never have happened to her.

  4. kpsisu
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I am not a lawyer either, but I think she could sue the police department? Depending on whether she got pregnant after being denied EC for what? close to 36 hours? the entire window of EC’s usefulness? She might have grounds for negligence.
    More questions than answers…

  5. feministgradstudent
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    What an appalling experience.
    One request: I wish folks would throw in fewer acronyms when it comes to women’s rights and reproductive health. This has been a problem for me on several feminist blogs I read, to the point that it becomes difficult to follow a story sometimes. Maybe I’m just not hip, but since I want to participate in these blogoshpere conversations I’d like to be able to understand what people are saying. This is especially important if we regular readers and bloggers want to talk to a broader public than simply ourselves.

  6. katie
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    EC is a pretty common way to refer to emergency contraception
    This story makes my blood boil. wow. i mean i can hardly believe it, who are these people, how can we allow this to happen. this makes me want to go to law school!

  7. Posted January 30, 2007 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    clear separation of church and state violation. i look forward to hearing that the jailer fascist bitch has been fired. and hopefully sued into oblivion.

  8. Caitlyn
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I hope there might be a way to charge the medical supervisor as an accomplice in the rape, and to file civil charges for any expenses to to the blocking of access to EC. At least pharmacies that allow the religion excuse for not giving out EC have to tell the person where they can get it – not hold them hostage until it is too late.

  9. paperdaisy
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I think that’s an excellent point, Mary B. If the medical supervisor had said, “I’m sorry, it’s against my beliefs to give medical care to black people,” it would have been completely unacceptable. But denying women the right to medical care is stil acceptable, I suppose.
    This whole thing makes me so upset that I don’t even have something original to say. I just need to add my voice to those saying, “wtf????!!!??”

  10. Kyra
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I’d love to hear a judge order the medical supervisor to pay for an abortion, citing that forcing her to pay for a procedure that is against her beliefs is no more of an infringement on her rights than denying this young woman EC was an infringement on her beliefs.
    Not likely to happen, of course, but seeing her charged with violating constitutional rights (by, as was previously observed, essentially keeping her hostage), would be a decent consolation prize. Also sued, fired, and perhaps put in jail herself . . . *hopes*

  11. Jane Minty
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I concur; at the very least, sue the Holy Shit out of her before wiping the floor with any remnants.

  12. Tamika
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Most states have an exemption policy for Emergency Contraception so individuals do not have to compramise their moral beliefs and give EC. It is called a concious clause. So, unfortunately, she will probably not be able to sue.

  13. katie
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    yes tamika but there has to be someone there who will dispense it. and i am not sure you can apply that clause to a federal institution bc then there IS nota separation of church and state.

  14. Vervain
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if we’d see as many of these “it’s against my religion!” excuses regarding EC if a few doctors and pharmacists started refusing to treat anti-choice fundamentalists who impose their religious beliefs on others, on the grounds that it’s against their beliefs to allow intolerant assholes to survive long enough to pollute the gene pool?
    Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

  15. Posted January 30, 2007 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    The threshold problem is the robotic, (selective) zero-tolerance way in which people are treated these days: using bureaucratic procedure to kill off any compassion or basic humanity one would show towards a rape victim.
    Unfortunately, it’s hard as shit to sue governmental officials because of the various immunities. I would probably just try to get the medical supervisor fired, because I can’t imagine anybody was stupid enough to write that “selective conscientious objector with no alternatives” down as a policy.

  16. Sylke
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    This is so outrageous it makes my head hurt. I’ll be very interested to see how this case pans out.
    What the. fuck. is wrong with people?

  17. UltraMagnus
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    That is truly upsetting. I hope that woman can get some kind of justice out of this.
    As for the “conscious” clause, that’s only for the Christian religious right I’m sure. If a Scientologist decided to deny a parent their child’s prescription for Ritalin (for whatever reason the parents have it) there’d be hell to pay. This is only allowed because women’s bodies are considered public property once there’s a possibility of pregnancy. It really does show how the right wing hates women and only wants to punish them.

  18. Posted January 30, 2007 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    More details on the privatization and political angles of this case (you knew it had to be in a current or formerly governed Bush state) is at Nitpicker.

  19. kmg
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    [i]Most states have an exemption policy for Emergency Contraception so individuals do not have to compramise their moral beliefs and give EC. It is called a concious clause. So, unfortunately, she will probably not be able to sue.[/i]
    Thankfully, that’s not quite right. Most states do have conscience clauses, also called refusal clauses, but the vast majority of those apply only to abortion, not to contraception, which is how the FDA categorizes EC.
    Also, because she was in state custody at the time (in jail) that complicates the equation somewhat. Some courts have held that prisoners cannot constitutionally be denied access to abortions while incarcerated, and logically that makes sense–it’s a constitutional right, deprivation of which has no legitimate relationship to advancing a penological interest (compared, for example, to the interest a prison might have in limiting prisoners’ freedom of speech or association).
    I think there are strong grounds for a lawsuit if this woman winds up pregnant. Even if not, I’d love to see reckless infliction of emotional distress and constitutional tort claims litigated out of this.

  20. Lesley
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Thankfully, that’s not quite right. Most states do have conscience clauses, also called refusal clauses, but the vast majority of those apply only to abortion, not to contraception, which is how the FDA categorizes EC.

    Florida has a very broad refusal clause that explicitly covers contraception. It makes no provision for having to have someone else available to fill the prescription, and it specifically exempts the state from any liability for such a refusal. It’s a travesty.

  21. cherylp
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Magnus, I never considered that – but you’re probably right. Everyone would call a Scientologist refusing Ritalin a freak show and be outraged that they were trying to inflict their beliefs on others. This gives me a new argument against these crazy conscience clauses. I have an idea for people considering a job in health care – if you don’t want to give people the care they want (and have a real legal right to), then pick another fucking career. Grrrr.

  22. Fenianserpent
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Just another symptom of patriarchal jackassery. I totally agree with Cherylp. If you’re going into medicine, realize you’re going have to bed those Fundamentalist tendencies a bit. Crap like this really makes my head hurt.

  23. FuriousFemale
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    I read a letter to editor a few days ago regarding the couple that was refused EC at Wal-mart. The letter writer suggested that these pharmacists should be held iable for the costs of raising the child should the women they refuse EC to end up pregnant and keep the child……not a bad idea when you think about it.
    This situation really does grind my gears though…..it’s like they’re TRYING to discourage rape victims from reporting the crime.

  24. Lotus
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Lesley is right about Florida. I work as an advocate for sexual assault victims in northern Florida, and there is only one pharmacy in a several-county-radius that I know of that will fill a prescription for Plan B.
    Although, when I started this work I was suprised to learn that, as bible-thumping as my area (which is not only extremely right-wing but also a big military town) tends to be, all sexual assault vicmtims who are given a forensic exam (otherwise known as a “rape kit”) get Plan B if they want it. Here, hospitals don’t do the forensic exams; instead, all sexual assault victims (usually after they’ve been to the hospital) are transported to the (state-funded) Sexual Assault Reponse Center for their forensic exams, where, rather than giving women a prescription, Plan B is actually kept in stock and given at the end of the exam to all rape victims who want it — for free.

  25. ccall
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Un. Fucking. Believable. I would have trouble making up something that awful.
    Wonder what Governor Jeb Bush would do if his daughter ran into a “conscientious objector� in a moment of need.

  26. donna darko
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    bible-thumping as my area (which is not only extremely right-wing but also a big military town
    p-cola has the most churches per capita and the highest incidence of incest according to the world almanac. my friend from p-cola thinks these two facts are related.

  27. donna darko
    Posted January 30, 2007 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    but it has a decent progressive community which makes up for these drawbacks.

  28. dhsredhead
    Posted January 31, 2007 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    WTF. I hope, I really really hope that this girl hires a good lawyer and sues the police department for this BS.

  29. the.empress
    Posted January 31, 2007 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    this story has really changed my perspective on everything. this inspires me to fight so much harder.
    but i havent been this disgusted in quite a while.

  30. kmg
    Posted January 31, 2007 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Lesley, good call, I missed what state we were in here. Generally refusal clauses don’t cover EC or other contraception, but not so in Florida.
    That statute can only protect the jail and jail employee from a traditional tort (negligence/recklessness), though, and not from a constitutional tort.

  31. Posted January 31, 2007 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, the Tampa police department has changed the policy that lead to this occurring and issued an apology. Not that it really helps her now that’s he been so horribly violated. Hopefully the new policy is better and will prevent this from happening in the future, however. Still, reading what the plan for the new policy is makes me unsure about it. Supposedly, now it’s going to be left up to the discretion of the higher-up police officers, and that still could cause problems.
    Also, now the story has changed to be that the nurse didn’t deny the EC on the basis of religion, but because it wasn’t on the victim’s medical chart. I’m calling bull on that at this moment in time, but a local news source has stated that she is contesting that it was not for religious purposes.
    Here is a link for more info about it.

  32. urthlvr
    Posted January 31, 2007 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    CNN’s article http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/01/30/jailed.rapevictim.ap/index.html is interesting in that the nurse at the jail has been there for only 6 months and is now concerned about the consequences.
    “She was mortified at what was being reported in the press,” said D’Angelo, who declined to identify the worker. “She’s frightened for her job and she’s frightened about community backlash about these allegations.”

  33. EG
    Posted January 31, 2007 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    She’s mortified and frightened for her job?
    Good. If she ends up ostracized and fired, that would be better still.

  34. Posted January 31, 2007 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    What does it say about our nationa’s police forces when they neglect a woman’s helth and well-being not once, but twice within such a short period of time? Not much. Following on the heels of the rape victim’s encounter comes this- a woman is arrested, informs the officers that she is bleeding and having a miscarriage, and they do nothing- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070131/ap_on_re_us/police_baby_lost;_ylt=AgqqpUdfHTHJ1HjUWvT7KwBvzwcF;_ylu=X3oDMTA0cDJlYmhvBHNlYwM-

  35. Posted January 31, 2007 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Whether it’s when she’s reporting the crime or testifying at her rapist’s trial, the victims seem to always be treated like the criminals. It’s like SD’s new moronic abortion ban that makes the victim report it if she wants control over her body. How many times does the victim have to be re-violated before she gets her rights? It’s disgusting. Benson and Stabler would never let this happen. If only they were real! SVU should definitely make a “ripped from the headlines” show about this. This story should have been national news and should be given more attention, even if it is distorted just enough to put on TV without having to hand out royalties.

  36. running_gal
    Posted January 31, 2007 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    This makes me sick. First of all it is every women’s right to take the EC pill, if it is their choice. The women was just raped. What has society come to?! I think that the medical supervisor should be fired!

  37. Putzi
    Posted February 2, 2007 at 12:33 pm | Permalink
  38. aliceccentric
    Posted February 4, 2007 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I am in law school, and from personal experiences, second-hand witness experiences, and reading the news and the cases regarding rape, it is obvious that the system is fatally flawed regarding rape.
    There is virtually no justice available to rape victims.
    The system is broken and needs to be fixed.
    So often, the rape survivor is re-victimized by the investigating officer, and if she/he even does press charges or file a civil suit, then usually she is victimized worse at trial by the defending attorney.
    There was a case in the Virginia Supreme Court not that long ago, a few years maybe, affirming that a 13-year-old girl who was gang-raped by a group of adult men was contributorily “guilty” of her own rape (technically, liable for a percentage, but that’s legal-speak, guilty works better to convey the meaning).
    WTF!
    As I see it, rape survivors need an alternative system, or the legal system needs new protocols for rape cases. If anyone has any other ideas, please send them my way, because I am planning on doing my Juris Doctorate Thesis on this subject.

  39. aliceccentric
    Posted February 4, 2007 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I am in law school, and from personal experiences, second-hand witness experiences, and reading the news and the cases regarding rape, it is obvious that the system is fatally flawed regarding rape.
    There is virtually no justice available to rape victims.
    The system is broken and needs to be fixed.
    Not only is the rape survivor so often re-victimized by the investigating officer, and if she/he even does press charges or file a civil suit, then usually she is victimized worse at trial by the defending attorney, BUT ALSO the police have civil immunity which basically makes it very, very hard to sue them.
    And with the legal system we have now, I don’t know how successful such a suit would be. Take for instance this:
    There was a case in the Virginia Supreme Court not that long ago, a few years maybe, affirming that a 13-year-old girl who was gang-raped by a group of adult men was contributorily “guilty” of her own rape (technically, liable for a percentage, but that’s legal-speak, guilty works better to convey the meaning).
    WTF!
    As I see it, rape survivors need an alternative system, or the legal system needs new protocols for rape cases. If anyone has any other ideas, please send them my way, because I am planning on doing my Juris Doctorate Thesis on this subject.

  40. jacque
    Posted February 7, 2007 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    This is slightly off subject, but I am with those people who said that the conscience clauses are a “Christian” conscience. I too often state that it is like a scientologist pharmacist refusing to dispense depression medicine. Could I say that, not religiously – but personally, I am opposed to taking blood pressure medicine intead of trying to alter your diet and refuse to fill that? Could I claim I believe that God doesn’t want you to have an erection and you are interfering with His will so I refuse to fill your viagra script? When will people stop opposing their opinions and beliefs on everyone else? We do still live in a free society right? I know, I am rambling, but this really fires me up. I already am made to feel like a whore when I go to get my prescription filled for my birth control. What if some pharmacist decided that my husband and I shouldn’t have sex without the intent of children and not fill it? Believe me, if this had anything to do with something other than a womans reproductive health – it would NOT be allowed. Men would not be denied their viagra or other medicine. Hell, some insurances used to (and maybe even still, not sure about that) cover viagra but not birth control. So it is important for men to get it up, but not for us to protect ourselves against pregnancy?! WTF???

  41. Bonnie
    Posted July 29, 2009 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    I wish someone would tell me that this happened
    in Onslow County NC. Where they have the biggest
    Bible Thumping idiot in the office of sheriff. If I were in this postion(just knowing what I heard here) I would call the ACLU.

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