Dec 5, 2016
According to a recent report prepared for the upcoming Maryland state assembly, 3,500 rape kits have gone untested. If a person reports a sexual assault or rape in Maryland, by law, a kit must be collected with blood, hair and other material that could have DNA traces of the attacker. But Maryland does not require the testing of the kits collected.
What is the point of collecting all this evidence only to have it sit untested on some shelf in an evidence locker collecting dust and mold? The process of collecting a rape kit is often traumatic, humiliating and physically painful. A woman is raped. Then, after reporting the crime, she is interrogated, poked, prodded, and photographed. On top of all that is the added insult of going through this process and having the rape kit go untested.
One way the police justify not spending the $1,000 for each test is when the woman knows her attacker. But in fact, by not testing, the police cannot collect a database which could show previous rapes by the attacker.
The police and courts have historically been unsympathetic to rape victims, often treating them like the criminals. It wasn’t that long ago when the police would ask the victim questions like: What were you wearing? Why were you there? Suggesting that somehow the woman was asking for it or deserved it. This is totally a reflection of how women are viewed in this society.
The cops may pretend they are doing something about rape by collecting evidence. But, by not testing, they show they do not take seriously sexual assault and rape. And that only serves to reinforce the violence against women.