When women are elected to office they make a difference for woman. Kamala Harris has been committed to resolving the rape kit backlog and ensuring an administrative and legislative system that brings justice to all who have been raped or sexually assaulted.
Michelle Bowdler’s new book “Is Rape a Crime?” investigates why the justice system so often fails to treat rape as a crime.
“The hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits existed because hundreds of thousands of individual victims agreed to submit to an exam consisting of head and pubic hair combing; vaginal, anal, and oral swabbing; retrieval of saliva, blood, and fingernail clippings—evidence taken carefully under the bright light of an emergency room by strangers following a violation that defines vulnerability. The victims endured this examination for a reason; they wanted justice. Instead, their bodies and the evidence taken from them were treated like useless trash.”
“Referring to hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits as a ‘backlog’ of evidence is a misnomer if there was never intent to test them in the first place.”
After Helena was released, she had a 13-day wait until more evidence turned up—her car, still covered in the dusty outline from where her body was plastered to the hood during her assault. After the police dispatched to handle her case had fulfilled their required duties, Helena waited again, this time for 13 years.
Amy Smith’s rape case was dismissed without her knowledge. Ten years later, she and two other survivors are suing the state of Texas for its systemic failure to take rape seriously.
Amanda Nguyen wrote the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act after her own assault. It was added to the federal criminal code by President Obama and approved by unanimous vote in Congress in 2016—and on Tuesday, the Federal Judiciary Committee met to discuss its implementation.
Thousands of rape kits sit untested and overlooked at police departments and crime lab storage facilities nationwide. According to a partial estimate by the End the Backlog Initiative, about 9,000 kits remain untested in California alone.
A nationwide investigation spearheaded by USA Today has found that at least 70,000 rape kits sit untested in laboratories around the country. While Detroit and other cities have made headlines for their determination to clear rape kit backlogs (in Detroit’s case, only after the Department of Justice found its police department guilty of “negative, victim-blaming beliefs” in 2008) this […]
The following is from the latest Ms. To read the entire issue, get a print or digital subscription today! Helena Lazaro was washing the vintage Volkswagen Rabbit she had been gifted for her 17th birthday when a man appeared next to her, brandishing a knife. He forced her into the car and made her drive […]
Vice President Joe Biden joined Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland Monday to announce that $41 million in funding from the federal budget will be used to test backlogged rape kits sitting in storage around the country. There are approximately 400,000 untested rape kits gathering dust in U.S. crime labs. (That’s considered a conservative estimate since police […]
In an unprecedented initiative, the cash-strapped city of Detroit has partnered with two nonprofits to raise $10 million for testing its huge backlog of rape kits and conducting further investigations of rape cases. Five years ago, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office discovered 11,000 untested kits in a Detroit police storage unit, a few of which […]