Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sin tax on strip clubs to fund rape kits

Via Google Image Search
Here's one for you to think about: Houston's city council has passed a new tax on strip clubs within the city, adding a fee of $5 per patron to their cover charge.

The author of the ordinance, Councilwoman Ellen Cohen, put the motion forward as a way to subsidize the processing of the city's massive backlog of rape kits for sexual assault victims.

“We have to do something to help the 4,000-plus women, children and men who have been sexually assaulted,” said Councilwoman Cohen. “I think we’ve waited long enough.”

The victims certainly have waited too long for justice that has been delayed due to tight law enforcement budgets. But the tax also makes an official link between the above-ground sex industry and sexual assault, which is troubling for some (especially those who make money from it).

According to the Houston Chron:

A study Cohen relies upon to make the link states: “Are sexually-oriented-businesses, alcohol, and the victimization and perpetration of sexual violence against women connected? An exhaustive review of the literature says yes.” 
Several paragraphs later, though, the same study states: “However, no study has authoritatively linked alcohol, sexually-oriented-businesses, and the perpetration of sexual violence.”
Sin taxes are popular and profitable tools of social engineering when it comes to vices like cigarettes and alcohol. But whether you like them or not, do you think that consumers of legal sexual entertainment should be legally compelled to adjust their karma by paying to help sexual assault victims?

The Texas rape kit issue is a government funding issue. Last year, at the State level, Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, introduced a bill that would require a police department to submit a rape kit to a crime lab within at least 10 days, and complete the DNA analysis no later than 90 days after the sexual assault was reported. But it has since been stalled by police departments' inability and/or reluctance to do the inventories that would inform the legislators.

Councilman C.O. Bradford also called the nexus into question. He said that according to Houston Police Department, apartment complexes are the most common location for sexual assaults, and that sexually oriented businesses are 10th.

Still, said Bradford, a former police chief: “Victims have waited too long.”

Indeed they have. But is this what they were waiting for? Or did they want their government to pay to fix the problem?

Via Texas Tribune

Tip via Consumerist
Related: Houston Strip Club Accused Of Racism

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