Home Sexual Health Can take-home DIY rape kits help stop sexual assault?

Can take-home DIY rape kits help stop sexual assault?

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With Israel shocked by the alleged gang-rape of a 16-year-old girl in Eilat, Israeli investors and an American company are offering an innovative and controversial new product – a take-home rape kit.Formerly known as “MeToo Kits” the US company now goes by the name “Leda Health” and claims to offer rape victims a new path to gather evidence after a sexual assault.The kit comes with an app that guides the victim through the samples collecting process. Samples are then sent to Leda Health via Fed-Ex and sent to labs in California and New York, Israeli investor David Bar-Aharon said.The company said it can return results within 30 days as opposed to US hospitals, which provide results after an average of two years.Referring specifically to the alleged rape in Eilat, another Israeli investor in Leda Health, Eitan Hoffman, said that the hospital in the southern city does not have a specially-designated room to collect samples from rape victims.“If the victim had our kit that issue would have been solved,” he said.Hoffman and Bar-Aharon are partners in O. Ventures, a venture capital fund which invests in start-ups with social implications. The O stands for the Hebrew word Ohev, meaning love. Both explained they love the idea of helping victims seek closure and justice.According to the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, 1 in 3 women is sexually assaulted during her lifetime and 1 in 7 women is raped during her lifetime.In California, a woman submitted samples from a DIY kit to the police as part of an ongoing investigation, Mother Jones reported in April. The product she used was produced by Preserve Kit, another company that manufactures DIY rape kits. The process was viewed via Zoom by a forensic nurse and performed while a detective waited outside the victim’s door to collect the samples.Under its former name of MeToo Kits, Leda Health was hit by a cease-and-desist letter from Michigan Attorney-General Dana Nessel in 2019 who warned that the marketing materials might lead victims to believe that the samples collected at home would be admissible in court. MeToo changed language on its website so it would not be seen as making promises of what its kits could do, Mother Jones reported at the time.Nevertheless, Hoffman and Bar-Aharon said that there was interest in the DIY kit.“Leda Health gets a lot of interest from college campuses in the US,” Hoffman said. “They hope that by having rape kits on campus, sexual assaults will drop.”Tamara Hoffman, a fellow investor in the company and Eitan’s sister, said kits may not prevent rape but “will have an impact” as would be attackers will think twice before committing crimes and victims will be able to “take part in finding their attackers.”Head of the war against sexual violence in Israel lobby group Yael Sherer slammed the claims, saying that she thinks “they just want to make a buck.”Sherer said no court would accept evidence collected by the victim as it goes against the principle of a neutral collector. She called the idea of a rape victim performing a self-examination correctly while following an app “absurd,” comparing it to self-performing colonoscopy.“In Israel we need to fight to get the Forensic Institute to accept a video-call from a hospital room,” she said. “Such kits would be impossible here.”She also slammed the idea that having such rape-kits around campus will reduce sexual assaults. Citing the 2015 example of Brock Allen Turner, who raped a young unconscious woman behind a dumpster.Sherer said rapists don’t view their actions as a crime and don’t believe they will ever pay a price for them. Making the argument they may pause because kits are available very unlikely.

https://www.jpost.com/jpost-tech/can-take-home-diy-rape-kits-help-stop-sexual-assault-639645

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