The other night we were driving to dinner when I heard something on NPR that truly upset me. This isn’t too far out of the ordinary, especially in the world we live in, but this particular story honestly surprised me.
Have you heard about the Rape Kit Backlog? Apparently it is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands (the total number is unknown) of rape kits across the united states that have been collected but remain untested. They are officially marked “backlogged” after 30 days. These kits are just collecting dust while rapist go free because of a lack of funding. You can see the estimated number of rape kits are backlogged in your state here. There are over 15,000 in my home state of Michigan and over 2,300 in my current state of Virginia.
Now, thankfully, I’ve never suffered through such a traumatic experience, but my heart immediately went out to all the victims of these horrid crimes. Not only have they suffered through such a horrifying event, but they went through the embarrassing and invasive procedure of a rape kit, only to have their case neglected. Nobody is looking for their rapists because the evidence was never processed. Can you imagine? Add that to the fact that most rapists are serial rapists. They will just keep doing it until they’re caught. What a horrible situation.
So what can we do? Well for starters you can donate to support the End the Backlog project here. Or you could write a letter to your state legislature urging them to make rape kit reform a priority. Or you could write to your congressman to ask for federal funding for the processing of rape kits. For more information on how to get involved, click here.
*photos courtesy of the Joyful Heart Foundation