Confederate Yankee and Jim Geraghty think they've got us dirty liberals on the "Wasilla charged rape victims for rape kits" story. Never mind that it was the stated policy of the town and that a state law was passed specifically to counteract Wasilla's ass-backwards policy. They've got spotty, poorly conceived research on their side!


First, our Rebel Fail:

We also know, via contact with the Wasilla City Clerk, that there were no rape kits charged to victims or insurers in fiscal 2000 (their computerized system only goes back that far), meaning that there is only the possibility of the unknown number of rapes in the 49 (or less) sexual assaults prior to the beginning of fiscal 2000 in mid-1999.

From the beginning of 1996 until the end of 2000, there were 49 reported sexual assaults in Wasilla, which "includes all associated sex crimes."

Of those 49 (or less) sexual assaults, we don't how many were rapes, or how many of those rapes required rape kits for which the city billed the victims.

Already, we're stuck having to analyze a data set with which there are three problems. The first is that we have no idea which of these assaults are rapes and which aren't. The second is that a policy which makes reporting rape inordinately expensive would push down the number of rapes reported. The third is that the data set is so incomplete that, according to the National Review, the number of reported rapes for which we have the information to determine how Wasilla's policy was enacted was one.

One. As in two minus that number.

FBI records indicate that there was one rape in Wasilla in 2000. (The FBI did not collect records for previous years.) The state's ban on charging for rape kits was passed in 2000. (The text has no enforcement date; the state legislature's web site list the law's "effective date" as August 14, 2000.)

Nonetheless, fiscal year 2000 began Oct. 1, 1999 and ended Oct. 1, 2000. Because we know one rape occurred in calendar year 2000, if it occurred before August 13, there should be at least one record of a victim being charged for the rape kit. (If the rape kit charge had occurred after Oct. 1, 2000, it would have been accounted for under fiscal 2001. But by this point, the state's legislation would have gone into effect, and no charge would have been made.)

All of this would make perfect sense...except that the entire point of charging for rape kits is that even when a rape is reported, it discourages the victim from pursuing it any further by putting a financial obstacle in the way. One would think that these giant conservative minds would remember the old maxim that the surest way to get less of something is to tax it. When the government puts a $1,000+ tax on reporting a rape, it's the surest way to ensure that rapes aren't prosecuted and evidence isn't collected.

In other words, the exactly one case that these brave crusaders have come up with worked exactly the way it should have under the Wasilla scheme - a rape victim reports the assault, then doesn't get the expensive kit done. You can do this with any crime, really. Charge a person $1,000 to investigate a car theft, you'll see fewer reported thefts and far fewer investigated thefts. It's not rocket science.

But really, guys, keep pushing this. Show us that the rape lobby is ginning up another fake controversy. The only things they have on their side are objective facts and the historical record. Other than that, you're golden.