To test or not to test: there is the scandal

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.

4 thoughts on “To test or not to test: there is the scandal

  1. maybe she wasn’t dressed appropriately for the collection of the kit, so they could tell she was partly to blame! incredible.

  2. elp, it does sound as though one is tried first by the police, and if’s pretty bad if they think you are not plausible.


  3. And I thought Pakistan was bad. Well, it is, too, of course.

    I am truly flabbergasted that women are even made to PAY to have the heinous crime against them investigated. Still better than going to jail for bringing it up in the first place, of course, not that that is any justification.

  4. I only stumbled upon that Pakistan blog because I wanted to find the rape conviction figures, which are close to zilch. Anyway, the link is worth reading, but then I found on the front page of that very blog this poem which is a lot more to the point of this very topic and it gave me goosepimples. Thought I would point to it.

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