Believe it or not, Congress actually did something right. They passed a budget bill that includes $41 million in funding to clear the backlog of rape kits sitting in crime labs untested all over the country. Estimates are that around 400,000 untested rape kits are sitting on the shelves.
Biden said the federal funding will help local and state law enforcement agencies test the kits and train personnel.
“If we are able to test these rape kits, more crimes will be solved, more crimes will be prevented, and more women will be given back their lives,” Biden said during a press conference. A rape kit, which includes swabs, tubes and glass slides, is used to collect and preserve any bodily fluids, fibers or forensic evidence left by a perpetrator.
Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, and Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, all of Maryland, joined Biden at the laboratory…Mikulski, who recently announced that she will not seek reelection in 2016, called the funding “an absolute breakthrough.”
“We want to make sure no victim is doubly victimized: by a violent attack from a predator, then by a system that’s not equipped or willing to deal with the evidence,” Mikulski said. “Behind every kit there’s a victim, and behind every victim there’s a predator. When you get a predator off the street, you not only do justice to the victim but prevent other victims from occurring.”
This is a very, very good development. That 400,000 rape kits still sit untested after years of focus on the issue is appalling. The thing that was needed was money and Congress finally allocated some to clear the backlog. The world just got a tiny bit more just.