In 2000, there were 497 rapes reported in Alaska, FBI statistics show. That's a rate of 79.3 per 100,000 residents, the highest in the nation.
Nationally, victims' advocates have for years reported scattered instances of rape victims being required to pay for their forensic tests, says Ilse Knecht of the National Center for Victims of Crime in Washington. Those complaints have subsided somewhat after Congress in 2005 passed a law requiring states to provide rape exams free of charge or reimburse victims for the costs, says Knecht, whose group supported the provision.
"The reason we passed the legislation was that we saw it was prevalent enough to be a pretty considerable problem," Knecht says. "There are no other victims of crime that end up being billed for evidence collection."
The Senate version of the legislation that included the rape-exam provision was sponsored by Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, the Democratic vice presidential nominee. Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was one of 58 co-sponsors; Republican presidential nominee John McCain was not.
[Emphasis fiercely added by J. Miller.]