What is the National Rape Kit Backlog Problem, and How Can Girls Help?
Some of you may already know about the national rape kit backlog. But for those that don’t, this article will give a brief synopsis of the problem, and go into detail about what you can do to help.
WHAT IS THE NATIONAL RAPE KIT BACKLOG?
As you may know, DNA evidence is a key component in the effort to bring justice to victims of sexual assault. That being said, there are still huge problems with the way rape kits tend to be handled, stored, and used. The incredibly high volume of rape kits is a major barrier to a more effective system of addressing crimes of sexual abuse.
According to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), there are two major factors that contribute to the problem.
The first is that some rape kits aren’t even sent to the crime lab for analyzation to begin with. This means that many rape kits have untested DNA evidence that never even made it to the crime lab. The second factor is that the evidence was sent to the crime lab, but still ended up not being tested. Both of these problems are due to the overwhelming number of rape kits that require testing.
HOW CAN I HELP?
It seems like there isn’t much that civilians could do to help alleviate these issues. However, some organizations are working to try and resolve the problems that the rape kit backlog creates, and you can assist them in their efforts.
The aforementioned RAINN organization has lead several campaigns to attempt to educate the public on the problem. But any effort on your part to spread the word about the national rape kit backlog is appreciated and welcomed. Reach out to your political representative to inform them about the issue, and request that something be done to alleviate the issue. Talk about the issue on different social media channels and try to engage others in a dialogue about the importance of the issue.
You could also donate to RAINN’s public policy efforts that promote policies that contribute to actions that help sexual assault survivors bring their attackers to justice: https://donate.rainn.org/
End the Backlog
This is an organization that is trying to pass comprehensive rape kit legislation in all states. You can donate to End the Backlog here: https://give.endthebacklog.org/give/185785/#!/donation/checkout
End the Backlog also has a website that helps you advocate for rape kit policy reform in your own area. All you need to do, is click on the following link: http://www.endthebacklog.org/take-action/advocate Then you must select whether or not you want to write to your state officials, congress, or both. Then you are taken to a page that asks you to fill out your first name, last name, address, city, state, zip code, and email address. Finally, it takes you to a page with a pre written message detailing the problems resulting from the rape kit backlog. Then you just hit the submit button. It’s incredibly easy and a great way to help if you can’t donate money.