Tapati (tapati) wrote,

End The Rape Kit Backlog

I had heard about this in the past several years and I remember my outrage that rape kits could sit on shelves for years without being processed. When you think of what women (and men) go through to provide the samples--right after being raped--it is a second crime perpetrated against them. Because if the samples are never processed, those who provided them were violated a second time for no good reason.

A recent episode of SVU highlighted this issue, as did an episode of Strong Medicine years ago.

Some counties have tried to deal with this problem by charging women for the cost of processing their rape kits. This adds insult to injury! This issue came to light during the 2008 campaign in relation to Sarah Palin's town in Alaska.

It's time to end the backlog across America. Fine the rapists to help pay for more lab resources. Take some money from drug enforcement. Why don't we finally legalize marijuana and use the tax money plus the savings from enforcing the marijuana prohibition to fully fund a mandate to test all kits. Get that DNA into the system and stop serial rapists. If we processed kits promptly all across America, rapists could no longer hide by moving from state to state.

Find out if your community has a backlog and hold them accountable for putting an end to it. What happens when we do? We convict more rapists, a lot more:

But we can change the situation, and we have done so in Illinois. Spurred on by a 2010 Human Rights Watch report that found less than 20 percent of all rape kits collected from victims being sent to crime labs, and more than 4,000 untested rape kits sitting on police department shelves across the state, I pushed for change. The new law requires police to submit every rape kit to the Illinois State Police crime lab for testing within 10 days of receiving it from the hospital. Illinois is the first state in the nation to mandate rape kit testing. We know that the law has tremendous power to combat sex offenders and reduce sexual assaults. New York City enacted a similar policy in 2001 and saw its arrest rate in rape cases rise from 40 to 70 percent by 2007.


Pass it on!
Tags: rape, sexual abuse, sexual assault, violence
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