Bodies on Backlog

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.

Ending the Rape Kit Backlog: What’s the Price of a Survivor’s Peace of Mind?

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 […]

NEWSFLASH: Biden Announces Millions to End Rape Kit Backlog

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 […]

Detroit Fundraises to Test Rape Kits

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 […]

California Moves to End Rape Kit Backlog

TRIGGER WARNING: DISCUSSION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT When someone is raped and wants the perpetrator caught and prosecuted, it’s essential that the victim provide forensic evidence of the assault to law enforcement. A “rape kit” is the collection of biological evidence that can lead to an identification of the perpetrator’s DNA. But tragically, rape kits are […]