Ever wonder why rapes are so severely under-reported? We’re sure there are a lot of reasons, but here’s a rather strong deterrent against getting the justice system involved in your sexual assault:
According to recent legal documents, after a Tampa woman (“R.W.”) was raped, she sought a medical examination at the Tampa Rape Crisis Center, where she was provided two emergency contraception pills. She took one pill immediately and saved the second pill to be ingested 12 hours later, as directed.
R.W. then decided to report her sexual assault to the police. Big mistake, apparently.
While taking R.W.’s report of the crime, a Tampa police officer learned that she had an outstanding arrest warrant for failure to pay restitution and failure to appear. She was apprehended and taken to the Hillsborough County Jail, where the staff confiscated her second pill. R.W. requested her pill the following morning, but jail employee Michele Spinelli refused, because RELIGION.
Thankfully, R.W. did not get pregnant. However, she is now suing Spinelli and the Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee for gender discrimination and violations of the right to privacy and the right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment. The defendants moved to dismiss, but U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich issued a decision recently letting the claim proceed. The judge found that the prison guard was acting as a final policy-maker and, in essence, represented official government policy when she denied the emergency contraception pill to the plaintiff.
So take note, ladies: If you’re going to get raped, try to make it happen in Florida, not a military base in Afghanistan.