decorative banner image

Minnesota Office of Higher Education urges college campuses against Me Too Kits

9/10/2019


 

Recently, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education learned of self-administered sexual assault examination kits being marketed to campuses and college students across the nation by a start-up company called Me Too Kit. We are aware that a number of campuses in Minnesota have already been contacted. As the state-level office tasked with providing leadership and support for Minnesota postsecondary institutions through the Campus Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Program, we oppose these kits and urge campuses not to partner with this organization or purchase/distribute these kits.

These at-home “Me Too Kits” are concerning both ethically and in their high potential for harm within a Title IX and/or criminal justice process. While we agree with the premise that victim-survivors* should be empowered with options and choices as they navigate their own path of healing and justice, we are concerned that these kits are misleading and exploitative in their efforts to offer victim-survivors a different option to gain control after a traumatizing experience such as sexual assault.

Campus Title IX, counseling, and health and wellness staff often provide information to students regarding resources and support options after an experience of sexual assault. We strongly urge campus community members to be informed of the potential risks of promoting or distributing “Me Too Kits,” and remind campuses of existing options and resources that are both recognized as best-practice and regulated by state and federal law.

In Minnesota, a forensic medical exam is available at no cost to any and all victim-survivors of sexual assault and can be conducted up to 10 days after an assault. This exam is conducted by a specially trained medical professional (known as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner or “SANE nurse”) who can provide medical treatment as well as preventative medications for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. A medical exam also functions to collect and preserve any forensic evidence that might be present‐while upholding legal chain of custody, patient confidentiality, and chain of evidence protocols that uphold evidence admissibility in court.

Forensic medical exams also provide access to a trained, confidential sexual assault counselor ( “advocate”) who provides free information, resources, and support. During a forensic medical exam, an advocate can assist the victim-survivor in reporting their assault to the police, if they choose. This choice is always up to the victim-survivor. A free forensic medical exam can be completed even if the victim-survivor chooses not to report their sexual assault to law enforcement.

At-home sexual assault exam kits do not provide these crucial medical, advocacy, legal, evidentiary, and privacy protections. The “Me Too Kits” have been widely denounced by sexual assault advocates and legal professionals across the country, are currently being barred for sale in Michigan and investigated in North Carolina, and are under investigation by the Minnesota Attorney General’s office. Attorney General Keith Ellison asks anyone who has been approached about, purchased, or used a “Me Too Kit” to contact his office: in the metro area, call (651) 296-3353 and outside the metro area, call (800) 657-3787.

If campus professionals have questions about these kits, broader queries about Title IX or campus sexual violence prevention, or are seeking alternative resources or options to provide to students who have experienced sexual violence, please contact Laura Linder-Scholer, Campus Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Program Coordinator, at laura.linder-scholer@state.mn.us.

You are also welcome to review additional advisory statements regarding “Me Too Kits” below:

* Note: we use the language of “victim-survivor” to recognize the reality that individuals who have experienced sexual violence may identify with one term or the other; we are dedicated to respecting the choice of every individual to self-identify.


Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view.

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader