The city of Houston is turning to an unusual source to help fund rape investigations: strip clubs.
The City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday that requires strip clubs to pay a $5-per-visitor fee to help pay for the analysis of biological evidence collected from rape victims in hopes of identifying their attackers.
Supporters of the ordinance, which was supported by Mayor Annise Parker and approved on a 14-1 vote, contend that strip clubs should shoulder some of the costs of rape investigations because the establishments can cultivate unhealthy attitudes toward women that can lead to sexual assaults.
The fee would also apply to clubs that stage occasional adult entertainment, such as “a wet T-shirt contest or naked sushi contest,” according to the ordinance, which states all the revenue is to go toward processing rape kits.
There are an estimated 30 clubs subject to the tax.
Critics strongly question attempts to tie strip clubs to violence against women, calling the fee unfair. “There is no known correlation between people going to nice, high-end gentlemen’s clubs and rape,” said Albert Van Huff, a Houston lawyer who represents local strip clubs.
A 2009 report by the University of Texas at Austin concluded that no study has “authoritatively linked alcohol, sexually oriented businesses, and the perpetration of violence.”
This is so absurd, blaming strip clubs for rapes that occur anywhere in Houston ! I can’t believe this is even legal. Using this logic, they should also tax all the rap videos, most movies and TV shows, and virtually the whole ‘entertainment’ industry which is totally saturated with sexual content and innuendo…