I received an email from EndtheBacklog.org today. It was a simple request, to write to my lawmakers and ask them to support President Obama's request to allocate funds to help eradicate the hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits that are languishing in storage facilities all over the country.
Why is this important?
The process of providing evidence for a rape kit is invasive and, at times, can be painful. It requires further intrusion to places of the body that have been recently traumatized. The fact is: survivors are submitting valuable evidence that is being ignored - not every once in a while - but as a matter of course. Imagine murders being regularly ignored and the evidence stored, and in some cases, lost or destroyed by the elements.
This is one of those rare opportunities to get involved and you can do it from the couch.
Find your senator here.
Find your congressperson here.
If you're not sure what to write, feel free to take inspiration from my letter...
Senator(s) Durbin and Kirk and Congressman Quigley,
I am writing this message to request that you support current funding that will allow for the eradication of the enormous numbers of backlogged rape kits in underfunded states and regions.
As I am sure that you are aware, untested rape kits contain DNA that could close numerous cases and result in convictions for thousands of rapists. In doing so, convictions can help thousands of survivors sleep at night, knowing that they need not fear that their attacker is still free to victimize others. Rape is not a women's issue, it is a crime and significantly, the only crime in which there is not a concerted effort to close cases on a regular basis.
This is unacceptable. There is absolutely no reason that sexual violence should be treated as lightly as it is by the United States justice system. By supporting this funding you are supporting all survivors of sexual violence and telling them and their advocates that the United States support them and their hard work to fight this insidious violence.
Please, please support the effort to end the backlog. As a survivor of rape and a rape advocate I am asking you to help me. I am not a number, I am a face, I am a survivor, I am an advocate. As long as these kits remain untested, I cannot tell the survivors that I work with that the painful, agonizing process of submitting to a rape kit will help them find justice.
Justice they deserve.
Please help us.