Millions of Dollars Invested in Rape Test Kits Leads to Over 100,000 Arrests

According to New York officials, more than 100,000 rape kits tested nationwide over the last three years has led to over 1,000 arrests and hundreds of convictions. The news comes from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., whose office cleared its own test kit backlog and invested $38 million along with the Justice Department’s commitment of $154 million, to test hundreds of thousands of test kits around the country.

Victim’s advocacy groups have long called on law enforcement and politicians to make rape test kits a priority. Many groups blame the backlog on the dismissal of victims by law enforcement. Another factor to the backlog is money or a lack of it. Test kits can cost up to $1,000 or more. The infusion of funding has led to arrests in California, the hiring of two full-time cold-case investigators working on test kits for the Tempe Police Department in Arizona and North Dakota clearing its entire backlog of 210 test kits.

In a statement, D.A. Vance Jr. said on the matter, “We have begun to rectify what has been a tragic failure of government and law enforcement at all levels, a decades-long, systematic denial of equal rights for women in the justice system.”

The Realist Woman’s take:

It’s such a relief to know that this issue has been taken on in such a serious matter. Evidence, in any case, is vital to proving one’s side and DNA evidence, as we have come to know, is one of the most powerful forms of evidence in criminal cases. Survivors are able to begin a healing journey when their stories are believed and when evidence taken by a rape test kit backs up what they experienced and say happened.

District Attorney’s all across this country have more power than most people realize and for D.A. Vance Jr. to make this issue a top priority is massive. I hope that more departments are supported from here on out because the results have the potential to be life-changing. I applaud the victim's advocates who consistently fight for women on these issues. And I applaud the partnership of the Justice Department and D.A. Vance Jr. for investing in women and the justice they deserve. Women will always welcome men joining us in our fight for equality and justice.