The heinous nature of rape is a crime that often leaves the victim scarred for life and so one can only imagine the frustration for those who decide to seek justice and find a brick wall instead. According to WXYZ-TV, ‘Law and Order’ TV star Mariska Hargitay arrived in Detroit to lend her star to an effort by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to highlight how 100 serial rapists were identified using rape kits.
This is crucial because without the assistance of the rape kits which have been analyzed by the Detroit Crime Lab. The 1,600 that have been processed would never have identified the serial rapists as well as ten convicted rapists, reported WXYZ. What is even more important is that there are at least 11,000 rape kits whose 11,000 victims never received justice because they had been abandoned in a Detroit Police storage facility.
It is due to this serious miscarriage of justice that came to the attention of Hargitay who came to Detroit to bring attention to this second-handed assault being done to the forgotten victims. “I was in shock. I was outraged and I just assumed kits were being tested,” she said,” according to WXYZ.
It is because of this shock and outrage that both the successful TV show actress registered as well as Prosecutor Worthy that the move for state legislation to speed up rape kit processing as well as setting deadlines and guidelines has been launched.
This practice in abandoning or simply placing rape kit processing on the back burner by police agencies is not unique to Detroit. According to WXYZ, nationally, an estimated 400,000 rape kits have gone unprocessed by police agencies and this has resulted in rapists free to attack more victims. In far too many cases these serial rapists have moved on to create many more victims in at least 23 other states.
Police agencies making processing rape kits is a major priority that the actress and founder of Joyful Heart Foundation which works with victims of sexual assault and child abuse emphasized, “It was mind blowing to me, and my head exploded… We have the means to do it and DNA equals justice,” according to WXYZ.
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