Dear community partners and members,
The Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (OCADSV) cautions the use of the at-home rape kits provided by MeToo Kit company. The MeToo Kit company, as mentioned on their website “is founded on the principle that [survivors] should be able to take back control.” However, OCADSV believes that the at-home kits have the potential to cause harm to survivors.
Evidence collection is just one piece of a process that promotes self-determination for survivors after they have experienced sexual violence. Oregon’s Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) kit consists of a much more comprehensive service than what MeToo kit company offers. Survivors are able to see a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) as well as receive access to an advocate or a rape crisis center. Further, advocates can assist survivors in connecting with resources for healing beyond the legal court process.
The MeToo Kit company states it offers survivors the choice of where and when to conduct their at-home kit. However, the use of their kit may lead to further re-traumatization as it isolates and places responsibility on the survivor. As stated on MeToo Kit company’s website, there is no guarantee that any of the evidence collected as a result of the use of this product will be admissible in court. However, when survivors go through a SAFE kit test process, there is a strict timeline and specific guidelines for the SAFE kit to adhere to.
Oregon has worked over the last few years to listen to survivors and improve the SAFE kit process so that survivors have more information about what happens to their kit after the evidence is collected. Since March of 2019, Oregon eliminated the backlog of SAFE kit tests and due to House Bill 4049, survivors in Oregon are able to track their kits which will be made available by end of 2019.
While the MeToo Kit company’s emphasizes survivor’s choice on their website, their actions raise the question that they are capitalizing on the #MeToo movement. We discourage their pilot project being offered to universities and colleges as well as starting a wait-list for their kits on their website, as we do not believe that it supports best practices at this time. We encourage survivors to continue to reach out to their local sexual violence support program.
The Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, along with Oregon Sexual Assault Task Force (SATF) and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV), advocates for survivor-centered services ensuring the quality care that they deserve. We are thankful for the attentiveness that the domestic and sexual violence movement has brought to this and believe that we can continue to serve survivors with utmost care and dignity.
The Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
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Communications and Events Coordinator