Archive for October, 2010
We’re continuing our features of stories from survivors of rape and sexual assault who have been affected by the backlog of untested rape kits. Today, Michelle share’s her story. We thank her and want honor her courage in sharing what she has experienced.
I wanted to share my story, to help add a sense of reality of the impact of the backlog on rape victims.
I was raped in 1984 by two men during a home invasion in Boston. They had a knife; I was blindfolded, raped repeatedly by both of them, tied up with a phone cord, gagged, and eventually left alive, much to my surprise. Perhaps it was the blindfold that saved my life. As I begged the men not to kill me, one of them said, “We don’t kill people. We just need the money. We’ve been doing this for seven years.” They were unafraid and unapologetic. They told me their first names; they did not wear gloves.
They left fingerprints all over the apartment, and I submitted to a rape kit thinking that this would help catch the men who did this.
The police interviewed me once. I called about a month after the attack and was asked by the More >
One of our hopes for endthebacklog.org and the Backlog Blog is to share stories of how individuals and organizations are working to eliminate backlogs once they’ve been uncovered. The hope is that other jurisdictions can learn from their successes and challenges, and that together we can develop strategies to ensure justice and healing for survivors of sexual violence. Earlier this week, I chatted with LA Police Chief Charlie Beck about his department’s efforts to resolve their backlog of untested rape kits.
Sarah Tofte: How did you discover that Los Angeles had a backlog of untested rape kits?
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck: We always knew that we had a backlog of untested rape kits—I mean, we knew that when we collected kits from victims, that some of them were sent to the crime lab and some were not. Around three years ago, we decided to consider any kit collected from a victim and not tested as a kit that was part of the backlog. So, under the direction of then-Chief Bratton, we went into our evidence storage facilities to count the kits. We knew how many kits were waiting for testing at our crime labs, but we had no idea how many More >