Raped? Don’t Go to the Tampa Police
By allegedly denying a rape victim the second dose of the morning after pill, a Florida jail revealed the dichotomy between the reproductive rights of women and the resources available to them in prison.
Last Saturday, Jan. 21, a 21-year-old college student reported that a man attacked and raped her. The Tampa police took her to a rape crisis center, which prescribed the first dose of the morning after pill. She was supposed to take the second dose within 24 hours. Then the police discovered a warrant, which alleged that she owed $4,585 as restitution for committing grand theft and burglary as a juvenile in 2003. The police arrested her.
However, the jail worker claimed that it was against her religious convictions to provide her with the second dose of the morning after pill, says her attorney, Vic Moore. Two days later, the rape victim was released. But her emergency contraception was a day late.
‘Shocked. Stunned. Outraged. I don’t have words to describe it. She is not a victim of any one person. She is a victim of the system,’ Moore said.
‘In a way, she was brutalized twice,’ said the victim’s mother.
‘Obviously, any policy that allows a sexual battery victim to spend a night in jail is a flawed policy,’ admitted police spokeswoman Laura McElroy. The police are right: Allowing a victim of sexual battery to spend the night in jail is objectionable. However, using her imprisonment to challenge her legal right to mitigate the consequences of the rape on her reproductive health is more than objectionable