COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – A North Idaho woman said she had to pay $400 for a rape kit she had done back in 2014.
She said police and a victim’s advocate worker told her she would not have to pay for the rape kit. But when it came time to pay, she said she was left with several questions and no answers. She even said putting off that payment ended up affecting her credit score.
It is KREM 2’s policy not to identify the victims of sexual assault. Kara Burnham has given us her permission to use her name and share her photos. She said she is speaking out so this does not happen to anyone else.
Burnham is trying to start a new chapter in her life and recently moved to Eugene, Oregon. There is something from her time in Coeur d’Alene back in 2014 that she is trying to put behind her. The night she was raped.
"There have been days where it makes me break down crying,” she said.
Despite knowing who he is, Burnham said that to this day, her rapist has yet to be charged with a crime. She said she has tried to move on from that sad reality. What she still can't believe she summarized in a Facebook post: "I just paid 400 dollars to get raped."
"I've yelled at the police about that. It made me mad, that's for sure," she explained.
The $400 rape kit that was performed on her as part of the investigation. A rape kit that came back positive, she said. Police and a victim advocate told her she would not have to pay for it but still a bill arrived in the mail.
"Then I couldn't ever get a hold of anyone about it. Basically, I couldn't pay," she said.
Burnham said due to the emotional distress of the situation, she put off filing a claim with the Idaho Crime Victims compensation program for about half a year. When she asked about having the kit covered, Burnham got the runaround.
"Mostly what had happened was I contacted a person, who would tell me to contact someone else, who would tell me to contact a third person, who would send me back to the first person, who would send me to a new person," Burnham said.
KREM 2 reached out to the state Crime Victim’s Compensation Program. An official there said that this does not sound right, and that it is hard to envision a rape victim paying for a rape kit. That official said the program is typically required to cover the cost of rape kits. The official was very open to talking with Burnham about the problem.
At this point, it is not exactly clear what lead to Burnham having to pay herself. She said no one gave her answers when she inquired at the time. The bill would end up looming over her until just recently when she gave in and paid up. The damage was done, Burnham said, and her credit score had taken a hit.
"I definitely never anticipated that getting raped would affect my credit score. I probably wouldn't have gone forward with the rape kit if I had known what was going to happen,” she said.
KREM 2 reached out to the Coeur d’Alene police about this story. We are still waiting to hear back from a department spokesperson.