Success: Congress Taking Steps to Process the Rape Kit Backlog

Rape Protests

Target: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Goal: Praise Congress for successfully addressing the need to process the backlog of untested rape kits

The U.S. Senate is poised to vote on a bill that will fund testing rape kits that have been gone unprocessed for years. Tens of thousands of DNA kits across the country have gone untested while victims wait for justice and serial rapists remain unprosecuted, all too free to rape again. Praise Congress for taking steps to reduce the rape kit backlog, addressing the need to improve procedures for rape investigations.

According to a report by the Guardian, a bill to approve an additional $41 million in grants to forensics labs has already passed the House. Earlier this year, a backlog of 12,000 kits was discovered in Memphis while Detroit allegedly has 11,000 kits waiting to be tested. Other major cities’ backlogs number in the thousands.

These comprehensive DNA kits are the process of hours in emergency rooms and probing exams that can feel intrusive to an already-traumatized patient. Asking sexual assault victims to wait for justice after what they’ve experienced is offensive at best.

The new legislation will not only give much-needed funds to localities, but will also create new systems to notify victims and prosecute cases after a kit is tested, taking steps to reform the currently disorganized rape kit testing procedures that persist nationwide.

Praise Congress for addressing this important issue and acting to fix a broken system that delays justice and allows perpetrators to continue to commit crimes.


Dear Senator Reid,

The tens of thousands of rape kits that remain untested nationwide is a national tragedy. Thank you for taking measurable steps towards reducing the DNA kit backlog. I urge you to continue to support timely justice for victims of sexual assault.

A lack of funds is certainly one of the reasons for the lag – forensics labs in certain localities suffer from budget cuts, staff turnover, and inadequate training. But one of the main causes is police disinterest in rape cases and the nonchalant attitude towards rape that pervades much of nationwide discourse on the problem. Thank you for helping to make testing rape kits in a timely fashion, and the experiences of sexual assault victims, a national priority.

It’s time to get repeat offenders off the streets and give sexual assault victims the justice that they deserve. Keep up the good work.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Women’s eNews via Flickr

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