Rape response coverage had improved greatly in Cumberland County over the past 6 years. Fayetteville NOW works with Rape Crisis of Cumberland County and with the police department special task force on getting the rape kits that had been sitting around across the state counted, and taking care of rape victims. Fayetteville NOW recognized Deanne Gerdes, the Executive Director of Rape Crisis, and Fayetteville Police Lt. John Somerindyke for their work in improving the situation. The rape victims in Fayetteville used to be able to depend on special nurses to take special care of them during the 4-7 hour process of collecting data for rape kits. The sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) nurses were available 24 hours, 7 days a week at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, and have a wealth of special skills that these survivors need. Those SANE nurses are no longer employee at Cape Fear Valley in Fayetteville, as reported by the Carolina Public Press on January 25, as part of an investigation of SANE nurse availability around the state. No one is ensuring they are available around North Carolina. This is part of a two part investigation, with followup.
North Carolina NOW Legislative Update 12 April 2021
This week saw the introduction of two terrible bills. The religious right has had so much success on the medical front passing laws to regulate abortion and abortion providers, they have decided to widen the scope of their activities to deny trans youth medical care (SB 514). The second bill (SB 515) would legalize medical discrimination across the board by introducing a bill that would allow doctors and other medical personnel along with hospitals and other medical practices to deny medical care to anyone for conscientious reasons. It is worthwhile to examine these two bills in detail because they provide important insight into the kind of world these religious extremists desire.
We are focusing again on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, RBG. If we had had a normal Halloween in 2020, wonder how many girls and women would have dressed like her. Maybe should have an online contest! Enough women (and men?) have been sporting t-shirts and pins related to her. I have an “I Dissent” pin myself, and already had RBG clothing for me, my daughter, and my nieces. Now is a great time to look back on RBG, now that the Supreme Court confirmation fiasco is over, and as we are looking forward to the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in January, and our annual pro-choice signature ad.
Impala Racing Team honoring RBG at Bay 2 Breakers race in San Francisco, Photo by Panos Photography. 5/19/19. Article on this here
NC NOW announces the NC National Organization for Women Political Action Committee (NC NOW PAC) endorsements for statewide offices in the 2020 General Election, and also federal NOW PAC’s endorsements in Congress and for president and vice president. We are excited to announce our support for candidates who have demonstrated a true commitment to women through their words and/or actions. We show the PAC Endorsements on one page. They include 84 statewide endorsements from and 9 federal ones. Use your sample ballot and local resources to make decisions in local races. Here is How to Find Your Sample Ballot in NC.
Take action to move the NC ERA bills along by contacting NC General Assembly Members to Support Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. This guide was provided by the ERA-NC Alliance. Also, get friends and coworkers to ask about ERA when you wear one of the green ERA t-shirts.
One of the postcards you can print and write your letter on. Photo Credit: ERA-NC Alliance
A coalition of organizations including NC Justice Center, Fayetteville NOW, Cumberland County Association of Educators, ARPI, Action NC, and NC NAACP are co-hosting this community conversation. Many very well qualified speakers will be on two panels – the first on need for Medicaid Expansion and returning public education to place of importance in state, and the second with past and present lawmakers.
Three significant bills to protect LGBTQ rights were filed. Another bad anti-abortion bill was filed. A federal judge ruled a provision of another NC anti-abortion law unconstitutional. And a there is an update on a bill on female genital mutilation. The progress of tracked bills has been updated.
The complete legislative update #9 is available at here.
NC may have the most untested rape kits in the nation (15,160 reported from 92% of law enforcement agency reports submitted). It is clear that too many rape kits are going unprocessed in NC and the NC General Assembly is not providing money to test or to track them, even in the face of this astounding backlog. It is also significant that none were reported from any universities (according to the report from Attorney General Josh Stein’s office). But when rapes are reported in NC, the state is falling down on the job – not processing the evidence and actually sometimes throwing away the evidence. Ignoring the evidence causes more damage in the long run, allowing rapists to run amok in NC and move on to other states. And there are many advantages of testing them as soon as possible.
“Every $1 spent on the analysis of a kit returns $81 from averted future assaults.”
The 81 to 1 savings is according to an article reviewing the research of two Stanford University professors published “Analyzing approaches to the backlog of untested sexual assault kits in the USA,” 3/5/18, Journal of Forensic Science. The article also states that the $81 may be a conservative estimate and it could go as high as $3,000 for every $1 spent. The professors estimate that there are around 400,000 untested sexual assault kits in the backlog in the U.S.A.
Sexual Assault Kits on display at NC NOW State Conference in 2017. Photo Credit: Catherine Evangelista
Their reviews of police data for jailed perpetrators suggest that the average number of assault victims per assailant is around 26. The cost of testing a kit ranges from $700 to $1500.