House Passes Grant for Processing Untested Rape Kits
The House of Representatives passed the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2008 last week, which will help process a backlog of rape kits across the country. The Act provides funds for a grant program that started in 2004, with the objective to process the nearly 400,000 untested rape kits nationwide. In the United States, more than 200,000 rapes are reported to authorities each year. Thousands of victims agree to a rape kits, an invasive process that can take up to six hours. These individuals are often unaware that the critical evidence gathered is never tested.
The Washington Post reports that the proportion of rape victims who report the crime has increased. However, rape arrests have decreased in the face of growing backlogs in evidence processing. Most states are not required to notify victims about the processing of their rape kit.
The backlog of untested rape evidence within the kits has been attributed to lack of financial resources. However, over the past four years, Congress has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars for states to conduct DNA testing for sexual assaults. Failure to process rape kits is linked to states "failure to treat rape as seriously as other violent crimes", while other non-sexual violent crime evidence is regularly processed, reports the Washington Post.
Media Resources: Washington Post 7/22/08, Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate 7/10/08
10/20/2014 North Carolina Board of Elections Eliminates On-Campus Voting Sites Across the State - North Carolina will begin state-wide early voting on Thursday, and unlike the 2012 presidential election, many students across the state will have no polling place on-campus, making it more difficult for students to exercise their right to vote.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections recently eliminated the only on-campus voting location for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a campus with more than 20,000 students. . . .
10/17/2014 Student Activists Across the Country Are Fighting Extreme Anti-Abortion Ballot Measures - In Tennessee, North Dakota, and Colorado - three states deciding ballot measures aimed at restricting birth control access and outlawing abortion in the upcoming election - student activists are mobilizing to get out the vote.
Members of student-ledFeminist Majority Leadership Alliancegroup Vanderbilt Feminists at Vanderbilt University have been working tirelessly to get out the word about Tennessee's Amendment 1, which would take the right of privacy for reproductive rights out of the state constitution and give local legislators the power to restrict access to abortion, even in the case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman, and outlaw many forms of birth control, such as the IUD or the pill. . . .