Last night, while sitting with my fiance, listening to the nightly news, something caught my ear. The news story was about 400,000 rape kits that had never been processed and that some have been shelved for over three decades!
This is appalling to me. There are cases that get dismissed because the accusation of rape has been brought to the judges with no rape kits or evidence, but maybe there is evidence… There are some rapists around the US going free because they have not been caught due to these 400,000 kits not being processed and the rapist being put into jail.
Statistically, a Sexual Assault happens every 2 minutes. 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to police and 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail.
What is even more troublesome is that 44% of victims are under the age of 18. Meaning that of those 400,000 kits, statistically speaking, 176,000 of the rape kits could be of those under 18 that had their innocence ripped from them. Not to mention that they were of the 40% that actually spoke up, but nothing was done!
How can we as Americans say that our streets are safe when we have potentially 400,000 rapists out there that will never have to pay for what they have done because the government is sitting on the kits?
Luckily, in March of 2013, President and CEO of Lifeway Foods, Julie Smolyansky and her partner, Jason Burdeen launched a nonprofit called Test400k. Test400k is working to solve the rape kit backlogs and improve how sexual assault is being handled in the United States. This is amazing news that someone has stepped up and is taking on this large task of completing these kits – The question is, why was it not been done before by the people who were supposed to process these kits?
Another organization that I feel is helping in situations like this is Lauren’s Kids. Lauren’s Kids was founded by Lauren Book, who is on a mission to prevent sexual abuse through awareness and education, and to help survivors heal with guidance and support. Lauren Book was just named The 2013 L’Oreal Paris National Honoree Women of Worth for all of her work in the organization. Right now Lauren’s Kids is looking to raise money through their Florida Specialty License Plate in order to spread awareness to all of those on the road that see the plate. The License Plate was also designed by the internally acclaimed artist, Romero Britto.
Statistically, a woman is twice as likely to be raped in her lifetime as she is to develop breast cancer – but we put so much money, research and backing into Breast Cancer research and everyone knows about it. Yet those rapists who are potentially just as deadly, are left unpunished and out there to hurt others.
Let’s take one step forward in the rights for women instead of taking a step backward.