Throughout the United States there has been thousands of untested rape kits that have not been submitted by the police for forensic DNA testing. And although to some it might sound alarming to others the police wich are the people that should be in charge and the ones people believe in to do their job they are consciously aware of this and they are setting this issue aside. This problem has been happening for a long time and it is causing more trauma to the victims. According to Rebecca Campbell, Why Police “Couldn’t or Wouldn’t” Submit Sexual Assault Kits for Forensic DNA Testing: A Focal Concerns Theory Analysis of Untested Rape Kits, “ This “new” problem of untested rape kits is actually a rather old problem: untested SAKs (sexual assult kits) have been accumulating in police storage facilities for decades because the criminal justice system has not dedicated sufficient resources to combat sexual violence, which is due in no small part to entrenched gender, race, and class biases about rape and credibility of rape victims.” This is an obvious issue because these criminals who are raping are walking around perhaps making more offenses. And the victim waits to one day get their justice on something that is not being looked at or taken as a priority to combat against these rapist.
For starters, DNA evidence is a very helpful tool in which it helps indentify offenders through DNA matches across cases. And if they do not match then in some cases it may help exonerate people who were wrongfully accused and convicted for a crime they never committed. Now the main factor in the DNA evidence in why it is such an important thing police do is because the victim waits on the other side for his or her offender to be convicted. Although the main problem is that many city’s lack resources, personale and money to test and investigate reported rapes. And this creates the issue of cases accumulating and never getting tested for years. Now the bigger problem is that if these rape cases get tested if more than 10 years have passed the statue of limitations will not allow to proceed with the case after 10 years. That’s why it is very crusual for investigators to test these rape kits and investiate the case because if the person who raped is found and not convicted within the 10 year frame the victim will not be able to get their justice. Although the law varies from state to state according to Brittany Ericksen “There are states that have a DNA exception to the statute of limitations. Though the specifics vary from state to state, a DNA exception allows for the tolling of a statute of limitations in cases where a perpetrator is later identified through DNA evidence. As of the date of 2013 , 27 states have some form of a DNA exception that extends the time limit for prosecuting the offense.” And although this may be helpful it does not mean that it is easy because of the amount of untested rape kits their is.
Moreover, as Campbell says, “Conservative estimates indicate there are at least 200,000 untested SAKs (sexual assault kits) in U.S. police departments, and large stockpiles of kits have been documented in over five dozen jurisdictions.” This is an issue that can not be overlooked at and it is unacceptable to society. It is important for the police to test these rape kits because in a way it is telling the victim that the police care for them and that they will help them get their justice. Not only that but testing the dna evidence can also help in other cases because it can connect the suspect to other crime scenes. And it can stop the backlog from accumulating and serve justice for the thousands of victims who will always remember their tragic event.
Furthermore, a woman that has gotten involved in this issue and is trying to make an impact for these rape kits to get tested and end the backlog of them is Mariska Harigatay. Many may know her as an actress who plays in law and order she made a film called “I am Evidence” which opened a window to people seeing how not city’s but the nation was not doing nothing to help these victims. It is an eye opening film for the public because it shows how it is not just about rape kits it is about people getting impacted by the perpatrator and the justice system simply setting them asside. This film brings positive atributes for society for women to not keep quiet and changes the “Me Too” movement. According to Alejandra Reyes-Velarde in, Mariska Harigatay examines subject of untested rape kits in new documentary, “By saying this is no longer acceptable and we now have a community that can support this fight, all the women that have gone before us in this effort can see we’re finally in this movement of seeing action and people being held accountable for misconduct. Mariska Harigatay made a big impact on people because by making this film and bringing awareness it helped women to speak up and not stay quiet weather it had to do with rape or domestic violence.
Overall, untested rape kits is an alarming issue people should be aware of and it brings a set of different emotions to different people. This issue reaches every ethnicity, religion, sexuality and beyond because rape can happen too anyone at any age and time. Rape can happen to the poor and the rich it doesnt reach any limitations and it is important to be aware of it happening and help the ones in need. It is important to fight for these women and men so they can see the perpetrator get sentenced so it does not happen to any women or men again. Not only that but it is important to test these rape kits because their could be someone serving a crime that they did not commit and the real person that commited it can be out in the public commiting more offenses. A great example of getting wrongfully convicted is the central park 5 teenagers who got convicted and served time for a rape they did not do. It is not just about the rape kits it is about justice and about getting the right person in custody so they get prosecuted for the wrong they did. The central park 5 had a huge impact on the african american race and the justice system in one hand the racism because they were “black teenagers” in the park during the time of the incident which it turned out they were no where near the location of the woman who got raped. And in the other hand there is the justice system who was desperate of these rapes happening that they became desperate to convict these teenagers who had nothing to do with the crime. This is why it is very important to avoid wrongful convictions and investigate and test these rape kits.
Taking everything into account, this subject of rape has been happening for decades and to the most part to woman. This relates to history because it is something that has always affected women in every race and age and has impacted them in numerous ways. Women should not just be seen as a sexual object but as a powerful human being who fights and does not give up one who is a role mother and a symbol of empowerment. And to be able to achieve this we have set aside how they look or where they were when the rape happened because they did not ask for it. It is time for the public to be aware of these issues and help women and not look them down of feel sorry because they got raped. It is time to help women by speaking up about why they are not testing the rape kits ad to start because these convictions need to happen.
- Campbell, Rebecca. “Why Police ‘Couldn’t or Wouldn’t’ Submit Sexual Assault Kits for Forensic DNA Testing: A Focal Concerns Theory Analysis of Untested Rape Kits.” Giannina Fehler-Cabral,March1,2018. http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.hartnell.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&sid=53a87e2e-0d33-430d-8c21-9c5f2c1db8ed@sessionmgr101.
- Ericksen, B. (2013, August 21). A State-by-State Comparison. Retrieved December 2, 2019, from https://victimsofcrime.org/docs/DNAResource Center/sol-for-sexual-assault-check-chart—final—copy.pdf?sfvrsn=2.
- Reyes-Velarde, A. (2018, April 7). Mariska Hargitay examines subject of untested rape kits in new documentary.Retrievedfrom https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/la-et-mariska-hargitay-hbo-20180407-story.html