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Despite Federal Law, Many Rape Victims Still Have to Pay Medical Expenses After Getting Attacked

The government should be applauded for taking action to ensure that rape victims can recover from their horrific attacks without having to worry about the financial burden certain treatments may cost them.

Unfortunately, however, new data has indicated that women who suffer from sexual assault might still be paying the price — not just figuratively, but literally.

The 2005 renewal of the Violence Against Women Act mandated that women should never have to pay the costs associated with their rape kits, whether or not they ever decide to press charges.

The 2013 reauthorization, which fully takes effect by March 2015, takes this legislation a step further, making the exams fully free of charge — from the moment these victims enter the hospital, they shouldn't have to deal with insurance, or the fear of not getting reimbursed later.

But while these are helpful for women in determining how their assaults have impacted their bodies, the information that they receive from these rape kits is often a burden — emotional, physical and financial — that the woman must bear alone.

New research conducted by the Urban Institute, George Mason University and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center indicates that women are often charged for the subsequent medical services related to their rape, like the prevention and treatment of STDs and pregnancy.

In one reported instance, a woman had to pay out of pocket for the 28-day drug treatment that is said to prevent HIV, which cost her up to $1,000.

Also, while the study found that many states were executing VAWA's mandates flawlessly, many other hospital administrators, either ignorant or unaware of the current law, were in fact charging rape victims for their rape kits and other rape-related services.

via WBUR, Photo Courtesy: Fanpop