A new hunt for justice is firing up the U.S. as sexual assault kits that were forgotten are now processed and giving a glimmer of hope.
For years, due to lack of technology, budgets and trained staff, sexual assaults kits – or rape kits – have been forgotten in the backrooms of police stations, crime laboratories or warehouses. Now, the gruesome stories they stand to witness and give away are taking the U.S. to a new momentum.
Under the intense lobby and activism of advocacy groups such as the Joyful Heart Foundation, state and federal governments are convinced to invest in a battle that has so far left many victims of sexual assaults without an answer and the much sought justice.
Budgets are lining up and the work is set in motion. Thanks to the relentless work of advocacy groups, the incredible courage of victims, as well as political support being pooled across the country, in 2017 President Obama pledged 41 million dollars in the budget for the processing of forgotten sexual assault kits.
in 2017, another 41 million dollars are envisaged to continue the sinuous work, with and added 20 million dollars for reform support.
Until recently, little was known about these crucial pieces of evidence that were being stacked up in backrooms and duly forgotten about. For the sake of the bigger picture, in Cleveland due to recent efforts 300 rape suspects are already indicted and another 1,000 charges are expected to follow.
All thanks to DNA evidence based rape kits that can now be thoroughly processed.
Houston unearthed no less than 6,700 sexual assault kits that resulted in 850 matches with the national DNA database. Detroit is making progress in following the same lines with its 11,000 so far untested sexual assault kits.
And these are just a few of the examples. The story continues nationwide. And with the legislative branches urging that deadlines be set for a relevant and accurate count and processing of the kits, it should result in a successful story.
Hopefully, the strong will that is powering these actions at the moment, although considered by some one minute too late, will continue in order to ensure justice is made for those who have been waiting for years for the right time to come.
The potential of the initiatives is invaluable. Communities and survivors of sexual assaults alike are commending the efforts for their audacity.
Vice President Joe Biden stated recently in light of these events:
“If we are able to test these rape kits, more crimes will be solved, more crimes will be prevented, and more women will be given back their lives.”
Alongside restoring victims their lives, more information on criminal patterns are brought to the front. Among these, the alarming information that a high number of rapists tend to present a serial pattern.
Cuyahoga County released information that 30 percent of the sexual assaults kits that have been processed so far resulted in repeated rapes. One case that stood out is that of Robert Green who during ten years assaulted seven women. In 2014 he was found guilty and sentenced to 135 years in prison.
This is just one case of many. It stands to reason that once evidence is made more clear, the sustained effort that the U.S. is now witnessing will not lose its momentum.
Image Source: aljazeera.com