Swab, spit, seal. Sounds easy enough, right?
That’s the tagline being used by a new startup company.
“Me Too Kit aims to be a sexual assault evidence recovery kit for at-home use,” says founder and CEO Madison Campbell.
...Heather Strachan is a survivor of sexual abuse as both a child and an adult. She made an initial report after one of the incidents but wound up not pursuing charges.
“I knew that I wanted options but I will say that it was intrusive enough that I stopped halfway through,” says Strachan. “It was just kind of an overwhelming and freezing response and I finally had to say stop.”
The creator of the kit says the idea is to make survivors feel safe and secure, and give them more time to deal with what they’ve been through. Not everyone views it that way.
“To me, the idea is actually more devaluing and degrading as a survivor,” says Strachan. “It feels like I should be shut up in my home and do this myself and not seek the appropriate care. Healthcare providers that provide these kids, they go through such extensive training I know that I would destroy evidence in the process of collecting it.”
“It really just gives a sense of false hope to survivors,” says Matty Smith, Communications Specialist with the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “Also it puts the onus of evidence collection onto the victim as opposed to the hard work we do each and every day at the coalition to actually push back to shift culture. So that people don’t commit sexual abuse and assault in the first place.”
Prosecutors, like Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds, say these kits are misleading.
“There’s no legitimate purpose for this type of DIY assault kit, that I can see,” says Reynolds. “If you would take that kit as a sexual assault victim, and swab yourself and spit into a cup, I wouldn’t be able to use that at all.”
Watch the full report and video from WHO-TV by clicking here.