It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of sexual assault victims never report their rapes. Of those that do, they have to go through a humiliating medical examination to add to their trauma, during which time a rape kit is used to collect any DNA evidence that can be used against a victim.
Despite the trauma victims have to go through during these tests, there are thousands whose rape kits are never tested, leaving their attacker free to harm the next unsuspecting woman they come across.
Joe Biden, vice president during Barack Obama’s time as president, has always been an advocate for women who have been sexually assaulted. He has now spoken up about all those untested rape kits, calling for every single kit lying in police warehouses to be tested to get justice for the victims, according to Huffington Post.
Biden took to Twitter over the weekend with his call for justice.
“An untested rape kit means a survivor without justice. I wrote the first rape kit backlog law because every survivor deserves closure, and because evidence shows testing kits can identify men who have committed multiple rapes ― and might again. Test every kit. Every single one.”
Rape kits are the best evidence against rapists, as the DNA evidence can prove beyond all reasonable doubt who committed the rape. Leaving those kits untested, therefore, gives many rapists a free pass that would otherwise be able to put them behind bars. In the past decade, it’s estimated that over 200,000 kits have remained sitting in storage facilities, never being tested.
Part of the reason that so many tests across the U.S. have gone untested is because of a lack of funding.
“To me, the backlog is one of the clearest and most shocking demonstrations of how we regard these crimes in our society,” actress Mariska Hargitay said in a 2018 HBO documentary about the rape kit backlog titled I Am Evidence. “Testing rape kits sends a fundamental and crucial message to victims of sexual violence: You matter. What happened to you matters. Your case matters.”
Biden previously made a guest appearance on an episode of the crime drama Law & Order: SVU where he spoke of the backlog of untested rape kits.
Prior to that, he spoke about how he believed testing all those kits waiting in storage units could potentially solve up to 50 percent of cases just by matching the DNA to that already entered into CODIS.
“Testing rape kits should be an absolute priority for the United States of America,” he added then. “It works, it matters, it brings closure, it brings justice.”