You may recall a report in USA Today a few months ago which revealed there were more than 70,000 untested rape kits across the United States. But that report only looked at about 1,000 police departments, and there are more than 18,000 police departments in America, meaning the 70,000 is just the tip of the iceberg.
Law and Order SVU actress Mariska Hargitay formed a group called the JoyfulHeartFoundation and their End The Backlog program is aimed at bringing attention to the huge of untested rape kits across the country. This is a noble and much-needed effort.
Did you know that 68 percent of rapes go unreported in the United States each year? I didn’t. Only 2 percent of rapists serve time in prison, and one of the primary reasons for that is that the evidence in hundreds of thousands of rape kits has never been tested. This is an insult to those who have been sexually violated.
End The Backlog reports:
“Right now, there is more we do not know about the backlog than we do know. Few state governments and no federal agencies track rape kit data.”
Despite all the information we already have, Endthebacklog.com recently published Joyful Heart’s most recent attempt to get the word out. It’s called the Accountability Project, and it clearly identifies what states and jurisdictions have counted their rape kit backlogs and begun reform. All of this information has now been put on a map which you can see below.
What is most troubling is how many states have done absolutely nothing to address this problem.
According to the website, these 11 states have no idea how many untested rape kits they have statewide and haven’t even bothered to address the issue:
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
This is unacceptable. The information compiled by EndtheBacklog also shows that twenty-eight states have done absolutely nothing to help hundreds of thousands of rape victims. What message are we sending to those who have been raped? Do we truly care what happens to them, that they receive justice? Then we need to prove that.
Call, write, or email your Congressional representative by clicking on one of the links below. There is also a link for your state legislators.
As the father of a daughter, this issue is especially meaningful to me, and I have already let my elected officials know that it’s time for them to act. I hope you’ll join me.
Find your Congressional representative HERE
Find your State legislator HERE
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.