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When a Woman is Raped, it is a Crime Scene

Updated on May 1, 2009

It's an ugly subject but lets talk.

When a woman is raped, her body becomes the evidence and a crime scene that police need to examine. As insensitive as this sounds, it is reality. The best both the police and victim can do is to "grin and bear it".

When there is a rape, odds are it is a woman. she is usually asked to remove her clothers over a large sheet of white paper to collect pubic hairs or other hairs, fibers. Afterwords, she is inspected with an ultraviolet light, photographed and using long needle like swabs that are inserted to collect the critical DNA of the criminal. It is intensive and most invasive of one's personal space and body lasting from four to six hours! To the woman, it is like being raped again!

The end result is called a Rape Kit. What happens afterwards is that the police will either stay on top of this or the kit is not even tested because it is not a priority. If the kit is tested, most results for DNA come back within several weeks. Sometimes, the kit is not tested until months later or the results from the lab "get lost" and finally show up  six months later. DNA results are a surefire result to nail the criminal, however, many who deal with this crime have an indifference to it about the seriousness of the crime. It applies to both genders. Maybe it is because of the redundancy of handling these crimes over and over and over.

Last year a 43 yr old woman in LA was raped repeatly in her home as her son slept undisturbed in another room. The attacker forced the woman after the rape to cleanse herself thorouoghly for obvious reasons. The rape kit was gathered (i.e., evidence) and it sat around in the LAPD for months. When discovered by a detective, he personally drove the kit to Sacramento (7-8 hrs away) to the lab for processing. He was told that due to a backlog of tests, the lab could not do it for at least four months! Four months passed and the lab performed the test and a suspect was finanlly identified.

During the waiting period, the suspect has raped two other women in the identical manner. One was a pregnant lady and the other a 17 yr. old.

Currently, in the LAPD, there are 12,700 rape kits sitting around waiting to be tested for DNA in their storage facitlity. This gets even worse: 450 of the kits are 10 years or older. These cases are dead as the Statute of Limitations has experied (meaning they cannot be prosecuted).

The Rape Kit usually runs about $1500 per victim. Rape cases are disliked by those in the legal professions, yes, even an attorney, because they are difficult to prosecute especially whenever the rape involved drugs, alcohol or a friend rapes them. It often seems like the victim is on trial because their past.

A safer city is New York, where the police have made it a policy to test every rape kit quickly. The result is that since the policy, arrests for rape have gone up from 40 to 70% and  at least 2000 positive DNA hits have been made in 10 years. 


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    • profile image

      scheng1 8 years ago

      Sigh, the government could have spent money on law enforcement, rather than pouring money into the banking system

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 8 years ago

      Tell me about it! Only in America. Pathetic!

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      Those delay stats are absolutely shocking.

      I've been involved in some rape cases, and the Met Police usually get the results in between 4 and 10 days.