Rape Kits Often Go Untested

Although many women who are raped are tested with a rape kit that takes DNA evidence, hundreds of thousands of those kits remain untested due to the demands for DNA testing, shortage of technologies, and high costs. Law enforcement has had the science to test the DNA of suspected rapists since 1989, but Congress estimated that there are still 180,000 rape kits that remain untested, according to Marie Claire magazine. By not testing the rape kits, not only do the cases go unsolved, but rapists often attack again and some are even released early from prison without evidence tying them to another case. Additionally, many victims aren't even aware that their rape kits—which are collected immediately after the attack and often considered psychologically painful—are not being used. One state, New York, has worked to remedy this problem; former Mayor Rudolf Giuliani contracted with outside labs in 1999 to go through the untested rape kits, and by 2003, the backlog was eliminated.