Target: Texas State Representative Jodie Laubenberg (R)
Goal: Condemn Representative Laubenberg for misleading and harmful statements about rape kits.
Texas State Representative Jodie Laubenberg recently made unhelpful and misleading assertions about rape kits on the Texas legislative floor. According to Rep. Laubenberg, “a woman can get cleaned out” if she goes to the emergency room and requests a rape kit, suggesting that part of the procedure of a rape kit involves getting an abortion. Rep. Laubenberg is a committed pro-life lawmaker, and she is a sponsor of the controversial #SB5 bill, which would shut down most abortion clinics in Texas. Her comments display a willful ignorance about the importance of rape kits and contribute to a culture in which the sexual assault of women is not taken seriously.
Rape kits contain samples of skin, hair, and clothing that have been taken immediately after a victim has been raped. Analysis of rape kit evidence is one of the most powerful tools that law enforcement has to prosecute rapists — unfortunately, almost 400,000 rape kits remain untested and shelved across the United States. There is a significant backlog of unprocessed rape kits in Texas, reports the New York Times. Rep. Wendy Davis (D) of the Texas Legislature has introduced legislation to end this backlog, but the effort is hindered by cost concerns. The challenge before democratic lawmakers is to convince the legislature to appropriate money for the testing of rape kits.
Rep. Laubenberg’s ignorant assertions hinder the efforts to clear the rape kit backlog. They spread misinformation about what a rape kit actually is, and they suggest that a woman who has been raped is only interested in getting a rape kit for the sake of the abortion she can receive because of it. They betray a serious lack of interest and concern for sexual assault victims, and this kind of blatant ignorance cannot be tolerated. Condemn Rep. Laubenberg for her lack of knowledge and her lack of support for victims of sexual assault, and take a stand for Texas women who have never had their rape kits tested.
Dear Rep. Laubenberg,
Your assertion that women who get rape kits can obtain abortions during the procedure is misleading and harmful, and an apology should be immediately issued. Rape kits contain the DNA evidence from a sexual assault victim’s body taken after the rape — they are powerful tools that can be used to deliver justice to victims of rape and sexual assault. Your false statements about rape kits insult and dishonor the women who have had to undergo this procedure, and who might still be waiting for justice.
There is a serious backlog of untested rape kits in Texas, as you must well be aware. This means that rapists are walking around free in your state, and that victims of sexual assault must wait even longer for a just outcome. This is deeply unfair, and cannot be tolerated by a society that values law and order. Please stand with victims of sexual assault and work for the testing of Texas’ unprocessed rape kits.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: eschipul via Flickr