The Department of Justice announced last month that it would allocate $38 million to state and local law enforcement agencies in an effort to address the extensive backlog of over 400,000 untested rape kits across the country.

“Testing rape kits sends a fundamental and crucial message to victims of sexual violence,” said Maile M. Zambuto, CEO of sexual-assault advocacy organization Joyful Heart Foundation. “You matter. What happened to you matters.”

The average cost of testing a rape kit is between $1,000 and $1,500. They contain DNA swabs and other forensic evidence potentially left behind by an attacker. Not testing kits forces many women to undergo the invasive exam without likelihood of prosecution and could allow serial rapists to go undiscovered.

When 5,000 forgotten rape kits in Cleveland were recently tested, law enforcement got thousands of leads; already more than 250 people have been convicted thanks to the newly found DNA evidence and hundreds more have been indicted. Law enforcement also discovered that serial rapists were much more common than initially thought.

-FEMINIST NEWSWIRE

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