It is a scandal. Rape kits stacking up in labs around the US and not tested for months, a year, or not at all. Or victims being charged thousands for lab work.
As Kristof in the NY Times notes, getting a rape kit finished is
a grueling and invasive process that can last four to six hours and produces a “rape kit” — which, it turns out, often sits around for months or years, unopened and untested.
Stunningly often, the rape kit isn’t tested at all because it’s not deemed a priority. If it is tested, this happens at such a lackadaisical pace that it may be a year or more before there are results (if expedited, results are technically possible in a week).
Meanwhile a rapist may be on the loose. And some states, Texas among them, charges the victims for the processing of the kits. There’s a report on Houston TV’s Channel Two about the situation. There is a crime victims’ compensation fund and it typically has 55-65 million left over each year, funds that are very hard to collect. And here is their video:
What happens when a jurisdiction does test the rape kit? Kristof again,
While the backlog and desultory handling of rape kits are nationwide problems, there is one shining exception: New York City has made a concerted effort over the last decade to test every kit that comes in. The result has been at least 2,000 cold hits [DNA match] in rape cases, and the arrest rate for reported cases of rape in New York City rose from 40 percent to 70 percent, according to Human Rights Watch.
So why aren’t the rape kits tested. And when they are, why do some states charge the victims? Could it be it just isn’t seen as a serious crime? That is a scandal.