Lifestyle

At-Home Rape Kits Now Off The Market

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[UPDATED at 12:30 p.m. ET]

Two corporations who have been promoting at-home sexual assault proof assortment kits seem to have halted promoting and advertising and marketing the merchandise after widespread objections and two state attorneys basic threatened the businesses with authorized motion.

The PRESERVEkit, which was beforehand being offered on Amazon, is now listed as “currently unavailable.” On Friday, the website for the PRESERVEkit said that “we will not be selling this product while we review the legal concerns.”

The producer of the kits, the Preserve Group, didn’t reply to a request for remark by publication time. Jane Mason, the co-founder of the PRESERVEkit, on Sunday posted a statement on the product’s web site saying the kits have been created to “help the 77% of sexual assault survivors who don’t come forward and report the crime.”

Mason additionally cited the instance of former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, who submitted a blue gown with DNA proof on it to impartial counsel Kenneth Starr, who was investigating President Bill Clinton.

On Wednesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James despatched letters to each MeToo Kits and the Preserve Group telling them to “cease and desist” both promoting or advertising and marketing their kits to New York shoppers.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter adopted swimsuit, sending “cease and desist” letters to the 2 corporations on Thursday.

Cecilia Fan, an Amazon spokeswoman, mentioned that when an merchandise is listed as “currently unavailable” it means the vendor took down the product. She mentioned when Amazon removes a product, the entire webpage is eliminated. As of Friday afternoon, the PRESERVEkit’s web page remained. Amazon declined additional remark.

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MeToo Kits, one other firm that had marketed an at-home sexual assault proof assortment package, apparently suspended its website as of Friday afternoon. The firm was not but promoting its kits however did have them out there for preorder on its web site. MeToo Kits additionally didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Julie Valentine, a forensic nurse and assistant professor of nursing at Brigham Young University, informed Kaiser Health News that she emailed Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, instantly on Tuesday with a hyperlink to a KHN article during which she was quoted opposing the rape kits as a result of the proof collected could be ineffective in courtroom and expose an alleged sufferer to medical dangers.

She mentioned she requested him to take away the product from Amazon listings. “I kept it short, saying I believed the product is harmful to your customers and this is why. The next morning, one of his assistants called me and asked some additional questions.”

Valentine acquired a message from Amazon’s government buyer relations division on Wednesday stating it had forwarded her request to the proper inner group. She additionally mentioned she requested different forensic nurses and colleagues to contact Amazon with their issues concerning the PRESERVEkit.

Other attorneys basic — in Delaware, Hawaii, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina and Virginia — have spoken out in opposition to the kits, warning shoppers to keep away from the product and saying it’s unlikely the kits could be admissible as proof in courtroom.

Advocates for sexual assault victims have additionally opposed using at-home kits. They say survivors of sexual assault would miss out on different essential elements of a sexual assault examination, together with therapy for bodily accidents, a psychological well being analysis, referral to different assets and medicine to forestall being pregnant and sexually transmitted infections.

Valentine mentioned it’s essential to maintain getting the phrase out concerning the potential hurt of those at-home sexual assault assortment kits. As quickly as she heard concerning the merchandise, she alerted the Utah sexual assault disaster strains so staff there may very well be ready.

“And good thing that we did, because it happened,” mentioned Valentine. “We had a victim call the crisis line who was thinking about doing the at-home kit. So, I’m hoping all states are educating their crisis line workers about this.”

Use Our Content This story might be republished without cost (details).

[Update: This article was revised at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 16 to reflect news developments.]

Victoria Knight: vknight@kff.org”>vknight@kff.org, @victoriaregisk

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