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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.


Join The Conversation
Monique-Marie427757 Monique-Marie427757 8 years
No wonder why women do not report rape, it seems like it is just going to cost them money and anger in just waiting for the justice system to do something about it.
nikkisoda nikkisoda 8 years
It is very unfortunate. Unfortunately a lot of people don't take it seriously. It's like no one wants to talk about it and if you bring it up you are the downer of the group. Something needs to be done. I know so many people that have been raped and in only one case the person brought it to it to the authorities attention and nothing was done! It seems as though they are always questioning the victim. Assuming that they are lying or over exaggerating. Sad stuff.
elizabethsosewn elizabethsosewn 8 years
so wrong that people acquaintances aren't taken seriously when they rape someone. Husbands rape their wives, and people you thought were friends could do this to you. It's so disheartening to hear that while yeah it's expensive (my initial reaction was YOWZA that's expensive.) it should still be taken seriously. Theses kinds of crime are the things that should take the place of marijuana on the ladder of importance. i mean really. RAPE is more important to me than someone getting stoned.
allthingsgrow allthingsgrow 8 years
Hopefully this will bring attention to the problems in our justice system regarding rape. The more I learn about this sort of thing in America, the more I'm disgusted with our justice system.
French-Kiss French-Kiss 8 years
Kinda gloomy... But pretty right
Beauty Beauty 8 years
I consistently enjoy Kristof's columns in the Times. (See also: Krugman and Herbert.) And while I'm glad that he's bringing this issue to the newspaper, it's sadly nothing new. Most women I know who have been raped didn't bother reporting it, because they felt that the crime wouldn't be taken seriously.
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