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80 Percent of Rape Kits Go Untested In Illinois

80 Percent of Rape Kits Go Untested In Illinois

You would think, if given evidence about thousands of potential rapists, who are quite possibly committing repeat offenses, that police departments across the country would see rape kits for what they are – an opportunity to stop horrifying crimes.  But, as Ximena Ramirez has written for Care2 before, county and state governments are surprisingly willing to let rape kits pile up untested, sometimes promising to take action and then letting the kits gather dust.  California has been the main focus for the huge numbers of untested rape kits, but now the Human Rights Watch has begun to investigate Illinois and discovered some truly appalling statistics.

In a report titled “I Used To Think The Law Would Protect Me: Illinois’ Failure To Test Rape Kits,” the HRW describes the results of their comprehensive data analysis of 127 of 267 jurisdictions.  They found that only 1,474 of the 7,494 rape kits booked into evidence since 1995 had been tested – just around 20%.  That means that the state of Illinois sees 80 percent of the crimes as not worth investigating – something, as the report’s author points out, that is insulting to the rape victims and a threat to the common well-being and security of all of the state’s residents.  Which of course begs the question: whose side are the police really on?

But here there is some direct action to be taken.  The 2010 Sexual Assault Evidence Submission Act passed the Illinois state legislature this spring; it would require that every rape kit booked into evidence be sent to a crime laboratory.  However, this bill still hasn’t been signed by Governor Pat Quinn, so this is where you come in – especially if you’re an Illinois resident (but even if you’re not), email the governor and let him know that this horrible track record regarding women’s rights needs to be stopped.

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158 comments

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8:58AM PDT on Aug 23, 2010

I have found out that NYS has no backlog on rape kits. They are kept up to date - Do any of you know of any other States that are behind on their rape kits? We did it witht he help of our SANE/SAFE nurses and funding ... If you like I can start a group on this - I do not think that there is anything in the rules to prevent it.

1:15PM PDT on Aug 21, 2010

Not testing rape kits in Illinois - why that sounds similar to South Africa. Our governments excuse is the 'brain drain' that is qualified people leaving the country because of the high rate of crime. Has anyone checked on corruption? from the lowest paid policeman to the highest paid politician, if you have the cash, you could get away with murder here in Africa. Is Illinois a third-world state?

11:47PM PDT on Jul 19, 2010

this is exactly why we need to keep speaking up about the issue, and be the squeaky wheel. If we don't, we lose the battle.

Please keep signing these petitions:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/worldwide-petition-for-aprils-law-in-the-us

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/aprils-law-wisconsin

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/a-new-perspective-the-unacknowledged-abuse-survivors

8:40AM PDT on Jul 15, 2010

Rape is a complex entity. It is not always a hate crime sometimes passion and involves same family members( incestuous rape) I don't have any answers to the problem ,but victims Should know that they are not quilty , but indeed victims of a sexual assault. More support should be given to rape victims. Let them know that there is no shame or if it is a family member that should not relieve his quilt. Young girls should be taught in school what to look out for and how to handle sexual advances before it gets to rape, but that they must report rape even if it means everybody finding out. That is tough part. The victim feels she is looked upon in a different way and she is.
As a man I feel the shame of my sex doing some really mind altering abuses to very young girls. I want them castrated and second offense, lobotomy would work. We are still living under the standard that "she was looking for it". Provacative dres is no excuse. Sex is only right when both parties agree to it. Any other form is rape . In cases of older women and very young girls, you can't imagine what the rapist is thinking. How can this be gratifyimg? How does somebody this sick walk around with normal people and we do not see him for what he is. Friendlier handling of rape victims and more support from woman who have been raped ,say volunteers, to help reassure the victim that she will live through it and be sure to prosecute the quilty party.

2:47PM PDT on Jul 14, 2010

Why does our society tolerate this? What does this say about the males in our society? It does not not place us much above the Muslim view of women's rights and their treatment of women.

11:39AM PDT on Jul 14, 2010

When woman stop being ashamed and afraid after we are victims then perhaps we will have justice. I speak from personal experience and I know exactly how a rape victim is treated not just by strangers such as law enforcement and the medical professionals who are supposed to treat you with care and respect, but to your family members who never look at you the same again. You are often seen as the criminal and not the victim. Tragic, but most of all Tragically true.

1:30PM PDT on Jul 13, 2010

That's sad I agree with Cathrine. Just sad.

11:29AM PDT on Jul 13, 2010

it's not chauvanism... it's money. pass all the bills you want, but they won't be enforced if there's no money. authorities need to make tough choices with limited resources. i would opt to test the kits and cut back on investigative work, since running dna through codis leads to quick arrests.

11:27AM PDT on Jul 13, 2010

Please read this excelent article:
http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/133482/untested_rape_kits_sit_in_cold_storage/?page=entire

& Julian, I agree. As a survivor I still have nothing but respect for most all police officers and all first responders. "Real" men are, as you say disgusted by rape.

Sadly a lot of what these women say is true, even today in many places rape is not treated as seriously as other crimes unless a death or a horrific physical injury occurs (in my case, cracked ribs & a concussion was apparently not 'serious'.

PLEASE e-mail Gov. Quin & check into the laws of your state!

11:08PM PDT on Jul 12, 2010

as a sidenote, i need to say that all the people in this forum who blame men for not caring and not paying attention and not believing that the crime occured at all is INCREDIBLY unfair to all the men who work in law enforcement (as well as in government) who are just as passionate about this issue as victims and their families
i'm not denying that such occurences do happen, but they are not the majority of cases
the fault lies with the offenders so PLEASE stop shouldering us men with the burden of accepting responsibility for chauvanism as the main cause of the lack of justice in rape cases. most of us are just as disgusted by rape as any woman
honestly!

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