Doesn’t this make ya feel secure. In the state of Illinois, it has been discovered that only 20% of rape kits are actually analyzed, analysis being the whole reason for taking a rape kit in the first place. So, a law actually has been created saying “You have to test ’em all…unless there’s no funding or staffing, that is.” Pardon?
Allow me to sit here and digest that for a minute. I’m imagining that I’ve been raped. I report it, and go to the hospital to get checked out. They ask me if I want a rape kit taken so they can catch the guy. I work up the courage to say yes. The process is like being violated all over again. Would you like me to describe what they do to take a rape kit? Why the hell not?
I know this probably won’t be the same everywhere, but this description sounds similar to what I have heard before.
Collection of Clothing
* You will be asked to disrobe while standing over a large sheet of paper. This is because your clothing may bear traces of evidence.
* After you have taken your clothing off, each piece will be placed in separate paper bags, which will prevent decomposition of any evidence.
Collection of Hair Specimens
The examiner will comb and pluck fibers and hair from parts of your body. This is done to locate evidence and provide comparison samples.
* The doctor will comb the hair on your head. The medical examiner will then pluck hair from different parts of your head to use for comparison purposes when analyzing the evidence.
* The practitioner will follow the same procedures, combing your pubic hairs and plucking them. This is an uncomfortable, but necessary part of the examination, since important comparison samples can be provided.
Swabs and Smears
In order to collect certain specimens, the doctor will have to swab parts of your body. This was the most difficult part of the procedure for me and I was very grateful for the support of a friend and rape crisis counselor. Although this process can be uncomfortable, the evidence collected is invaluable. Additionally, this will serve as a medical test to protect you against sexually transmitted diseases.
* The medical practitioner will use cotton swabs to collect evidence from your mouth, vagina, and anal areas.
* The swabs will then be smeared and carefully preserved on glass slides for analysis.
* The examiner will also draw two samples of blood.
Fingernail Scrapings and Cuttings
This is done to locate and preserve skin samples in case you have scratched your assailant.
* The practitioner will scrape underneath your fingernails and place the findings in a druggist’s envelope, which is a small envelope.
* Then your fingernails will be trimmed and the cuttings will be placed in a seperate druggist’s envelope.
If I had worked up the courage to go through that, and I decided to go ahead with prosecution, and my kit wasn’t tested, I think steam would spew from my ears.
One thing that wasn’t made clear by the article was how many of those kits had been taken and the person had not decided to go forward with pressing charges yet. I understand that in some places, you can wait up to six months to go ahead. Were some of those 80 percent of untested rape kits among those who were still trying to decide if they wanted to go through a trial? And will this law force people to make their decision *now*?
I still can’t believe that 80 percent of those kits go untested. I can’t imagine most of those to be people who haven’t decided to go ahead. I know the number of people not reporting is high, but once you get to the point of taking evidence, I have a hard time easily imagining that 80 percent are still thinking about it for a year or more.