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American Justice System Doesn't Take Rape Seriously

American Justice System Doesn't Take Rape Seriously

In his New York Times column today, Nicholas Kristof ponders the question: Is rape serious?

Kristof obviously thinks it is. And he wants to call attention to the fact that after rape victims undergo an invasive DNA collecting exercise, the evidence (known as a "rape kit") often goes untested for years. He writes:

So while we have breakthrough DNA technologies to find culprits and exculpate innocent suspects, we aren’t using them properly — and those who work in this field believe the reason is an underlying doubt about the seriousness of some rape cases. In short, this isn’t justice; it’s indifference.

The rape kit backlog has caught the attention of human rights groups. One found that in LA county there are 12,669 rape kits sitting in storage!

Kristof hypothesizes about the reasons behind the inaction. Tests are expensive — at $1,500 each — but he also thinks that police feel no urgency to investigate because alleged rapes often involve alcohol or an acquaintance. Essentially, the justice system is not treating rape like a serious crime.


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