I am a prosecutor who handles sexual assault cases and have some pretty good first-hand knowledge on this subject. The reason I’m bothering to say something about it is that I wouldn’t want this picture-that hundreds of thousands of people have apparently reblogged-to have a chilling effect on women seeking medical help after a sexual assault. So a few things—
1. If it is not clear from the bill, most of the charges are for tests and meds to identify and treat (early) any possible STDs etc. These tests and meds are vitally important and someone who has been raped should not go without them. Early treatment or prophylaxis may mean the difference between fighting off a disease and carrying it with you for a long time.
2. There are resources available to help victims cover medical costs. In Virginia, where I practice law, there is a Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund which pays these sort of bills. There are people involved in the court process whose sole job it is to help victims through the aftermath of crimes like this, including the financial repercussions. In a case where a victim “presses charges,” there should be no reason (at least where I live) why the victim would have to pay this bill.
3. If you are raped, there are PEOPLE WHO CARE. From wonderful, highly trained sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE), to doctors, to victim advocates, to police and prosecutors, we are all here to help. The aftermath of violent crime is horrible, but no one has to navigate the waters alone. We care about you. We care about what happened to you. We want justice and healing for you and we will work however long and however hard we have to in order to see it done.
You are brave, you are strong and you can and will get through this.