New Mexico Attorney General warns against at-home rape kits

By John Miller
jmiller@taosnews.com
Posted 9/12/19

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas on Friday (Sept. 13) joined several other attorneys general across the United States in warning sexual assault survivors against using "do-it-yourself rape …

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New Mexico Attorney General warns against at-home rape kits

Posted

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas on Friday (Sept. 13) joined several other attorneys general across the United States in warning sexual assault survivors against using "do-it-yourself rape kits."

MeToo Kits Company, a startup based in New York City, and the New Jersey-based The Preserve Group, have come under fire in recent weeks for developing commercial products that encourage survivors to collect evidence of a sexual assault by themselves – without seeking a professional forensic examination.

Balderas joined sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) across the state in condemning the use of the products, which they said can jeopardize the prosecution of sexual assault cases.

“Understanding that survivors of sexual assault experience tremendous amounts of trauma after their assault, a self-administered sexual assault kit is absolutely the wrong approach to investigating and prosecuting a terrible act of violence,” said Balderas in a risk advisory issued Friday.

Balderas said it is "extremely unlikely that a self-administered sexual assault kit will be admissible as evidence in a criminal prosecution of a sexual abuser."

While The Preserve Group already has a listing on Amazon for one of the kits, it is listed as "currently unavailable." The 23-year-old founder of MeToo Kits, Madison Campbell, told BuzzFeed News on Thursday (Sept. 12) that her company's kit is still in development. She told BuzzFeed she plans to move forward in development in spite of a series of cease-and-desist letters sent from attorneys general across the country.

Rana Russell, medical director for the Taos SANE program, called the do-it-yourself kits a "scam" that target victims of crimes that always require proper medical care administered by a trained professional.

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