11 Sep NYSCASA Statement On At-Home Sexual Assault Kits
For Immediate Release: September 11, 2019
NYSCASA Statement On At-Home Sexual Assault Kits
NYSCASA cautions against the use of at-home sexual assault evidence collection kits and is deeply concerned by the creation and marketing of this product by a Brooklyn-based company, called “MeToo Kit.” MeToo Kit claims to offer an evidence collection kit that can be administered at home by a survivor of sexual assault. Currently, this company is marketing their kits to colleges and universities across the nation as the “the first at-home kit for commercial use.” While the product’s origins are rooted in good intentions, it is highly problematic for a number of reasons.
This company is using the phrase “MeToo” to capitalize off of a movement meant to empower survivors, when this product can potentially cause harm to survivors of sexual assault. Evidence collected using the MeToo Kit may not be admissible in court. In addition, the use of this product would pose significant issues related to the integrity of the evidence collected, protection of the chain of custody, and privacy protections afforded to survivors of sexual assault. Furthermore, the MeToo Kit cannot take the place of hospitals and medical centers that provide essential medical services to survivors of sexual assault and access to additional resources, including victim advocacy and crisis counseling, which are all outside the scope of this product.
Advocates and allies across the nation are extremely disturbed by this and have cautioned colleges and universities from purchasing this product. Under the Violence Against Women Act, states must provide forensic examinations at no cost to survivors of sexual assault to remain eligible for a critical funding source. This product, however, could pose an expense to survivors and is not subject to state or federal regulations.
As a result, we are working with state and national partners to call attention to this issue and to caution colleges and universities from purchasing this product. Please follow the links below for additional information and statements regarding this issue:
- National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) Statement on At-Home Rape Kits: https://www.endsexualviolence.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/NAESV-statement-on-at-home-rape-kits-1.pdf
- Campus Advocacy and Prevention Professionals Association (CAPPA) Position Statement on “Me Too Kits”: http://www.nationalcappa.org/me-too-kits
- “The Misguided ‘MeToo Kit’ Asks Us to Accept the Inevitability of Sexual Assault,” WGBH (September 10, 2019): https://www.wgbh.org/news/commentary/2019/09/10/the-misguided-metoo-kit-asks-us-to-accept-the-inevitability-of-sexual-assault
- “‘Morally and legally irresponsible’: At-home MeToo rape kit creator under fire,” New York Post (September 4, 2019): https://nypost.com/2019/09/04/morally-and-legally-irresponsible-at-home-metoo-rape-kit-creator-under-fire
- “This company is advertising MeToo-branded at-home rape kits. Experts say it’s a terrible idea,” Vox (September 6, 2019): https://www.vox.com/identities/2019/9/5/20850965/me-too-kit-metoo-rape-sexual-assault
- “Attorney General orders Me Too Kits to stop selling at-home sex assault kits in Michigan,” ABC12 News (August 29, 2019): https://www.abc12.com/content/news/Attorney-General-orders-Me-Too-Kits-to-stop-selling-at-home-sex-assault-kits-in-Michigan-558705841.html