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How Can We Solve America's Backlogged Rape Kit Problem?

May 11, 2017
By
Cady Drell

Someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes in the United States. That's a number big and scary enough that you'd think it would be a compelling argument for doing something about it, and yet sexual assault cases rarely even go to trial, let alone lead to a conviction. One part of the problem: It's estimated that 175,000 sexual assault evidence kits — often referred to as "rape kits" — remain untested in evidence storage facilities around the country. 

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Eagle Club Indoor Golf Raises More Than $10K For Actress Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation

April 11, 2017
By
Nikki Gaskins

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA—Eagle Club Indoor Golf is excited to announce the recent success of its first ever “Drive-A-Thon” fundraiser. On March 31st and April 1st, San Francisco’s #1 spot for indoor golf culminated its quarter long fundraising campaign with a drive-a-thon to benefit Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping sexual assault survivors heal and reclaim a sense of joy in their lives. The money raised—$10,200 total—will benefit the non-profit’s “End the Backlog” campaign.

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It Took 9 Years to Finally Get Justice for My Sexual Assault

April 11, 2017
By
Kristen Mascia

Henrietta Sykes had all but given up on the arrest of the man who allegedly assaulted her. But when officials in her small town uncovered a dirty secret, they were finally able to give her—and hundreds of other women—the justice she deserved.

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Assault survivors have waited too long

March 4, 2017
By
Jayann Sepich and Ilse Knecht

Every year, thousands of individuals who have been sexually assaulted take the step of reporting the crime to the police. They submit to an examination of their body and have evidence collected in a process that typically takes four to six hours. The evidence is saved in a “Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit” – a rape kit.

DNA evidence is an invaluable investigative tool. When tested, communities can identify serial perpetrators, take dangerous offenders off the streets, exonerate the innocent and prevent future crimes.

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Editorial: A rape kit calamity

February 20, 2017
By
Savannah Morning News

Joanie is a Missouri woman who was brutally raped in 1991 by a man she didn’t know and then was virtually ignored by the criminal justice system.

Fortunately, her attacker was eventually caught and sent to prison, thanks to persistent officials in that state who made sure the rape kit taken after her attack was tested and the results shared.

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Let’s Talk About It: ‘Hundreds of thousands’ of rape kits are sitting on shelves

January 9, 2017
By
DomesticShelters.org

It was traumatic enough that in 1996, at just 17 years old, Helena was raped repeatedly by a stranger who approached her at a self-service car wash, pressing a knife to her throat before forcing her to drive to an abandoned truck yard. What followed was 13 years of being ignored by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Her rape kit—collected the same day that her rapist assaulted her, held her hostage, then freed her after threatening to kill her family if she went to police—sat on a shelf somewhere gathering dust for over a decade.

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Attorney General's report calls for statewide standards on rape kits

January 3, 2017
By
Alison Knezevich

Police in Maryland should test nearly all rape kits, notify victims of the results and store the kits for a fixed period of time, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said.

A report issued to lawmakers by Frosh's office Tuesday said a lack of statewide guidelines on when to test rape kits and how long to keep them has resulted in police departments adopting inconsistent policies. Some keep the kits indefinitely, but others throw them out.

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A flawed, inconsistent police response to sexual assault in Maryland

December 3, 2016
By
Catherine Rentz and Alison Knezevich

Catherine Becket hadn't forgotten that evening three years ago in her Parkville apartment, though she tried.

Then, as she watched with outrage while Stanford University student Brock Turner served three months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, she resolved to confront her own memories. She called Baltimore County police this summer about reopening her sexual assault case.

But she soon discovered that would be difficult.

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Memphis has largest backlog of untested rape kits in US

February 12, 2014
By
Kontji Anthony
Memphis has the largest known number of untested rape kits in the country. It is why the City of Memphis held a news conference Wednesday morning to announce several developments regarding the city's rape kit backlog.
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Rape Victims Sue Police Over Decade-Long Rape Kit Backlog

December 27, 2013
By
Katie Rucke
A lawsuit accuses the Memphis Police Department of a history of discriminating against females.
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