400,000 rape kits sitting on a shelf

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A backlog of 400,000 rape kits in the US are sitting on shelves waiting to be tested. Some of those rape kits date back to the mid 1990’s. It will take years to process the rape kits, after money is allocated to start. What is that money paying for now that is more important than a rape kit? Where are those 400,000 women whose rape tests have yet to be processed? Have they been to court without the results of the rape kit? Are their rapist still out there raping while the rape kits sit on a shelf? And how many men would be exonerated by those rape kits? Do you know how the evidence for rape kits are collected? I’ll spare you the details but trust that it’s a humiliating experience in of itself, especially after having been raped. And it takes hours. And it’s painful. And it’s not done in a doctors office, it’s done in an ER. Have you been to an ER lately? How long did you have to wait to be seen? Who else was in the waiting room, looking at you? How many people did you have to tell why you were there? The receptionist, the triage person, the nurse, the provider, the … yet, you’re number 400,001 which means the evidence will not be available until when?

… and people wonder why women march.

National Institute of Justice (2016).

“… 28 percent of the SAKs [sexual assault kits] tested in the Detroit action-research project revealed the DNA identification of a potential suspect. Of these, 127 serial assaults were identified … Additional research is underway to understand more about serial assaults in Detroit.”

Retrieved from https://www.nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/investigations/sexual-assault/Pages/untested-sexual-assault.aspx

End the backlog.org. Test rape kits. Stop serial rapist. (2016).

“Cleveland, Detroit and Memphis are all cities that discovered backlogs of untested rape kits. Testing these rape kits has resulted in the identification of more than 1,200 potential serial rapists.”

Retrieved from http://www.endthebacklog.org/blog/test-rape-kits-stop-serial-rapists

NPR: What’s being done to address the country’s backlog of untested rape kits. (2016)

On the cost to test each rape kit (verbal transcript): “The average is between $400 and $1,200. … It can be [a big hit to states that have a big backlog] but it depends on exactly what they’re planning to test out of that kit. You know, sometimes they have to run certain tests that that’ll limit the cost to the jurisdiction. You know costs outweigh by the benefit we believe.”

Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2016/01/17/463358406/whats-being-done-to-address-the-countrys-backlog-of-untested-rape-kits

End the Backlog.org: Where the backlog exists and what’s happening to end it. (no date)

“But things are changing. Reform is happening. Explore what we know, what’s happening where you live, and how you can be part of the change.”

Retrieved from http://www.endthebacklog.org/backlog/where-backlog-exists-and-whats-happening-end-it

Mother Jones: The governemnt is finally doing something to end the rape-kit backlog. (2015). 

“…$41 million Department of Justice program could finally help localities end this backlog.”

Retrieved from http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/rape-kit-backlog-federal-funding