New Chicago campaign aims to speed up processing of rape kits

- Two days from now, governors all over the country will be getting a special delivery from Chicago.

The packages are a reminder of the huge backlog in the testing of rape kits, and how some victims feel betrayed.

“When this happens to you, they make you feel powerless. They make you feel dehumanized, you're powerless, you have no control,” sex assault victim Michelle Kuiper said.

Kuiper was living in Louisville in 1994 when she was raped by Curtis Boyd, who came to be known as the University of Louisville Rapist. He raped three women before he was caught. Kuiper is still coping with the emotional baggage.

“Yesterday, I actually took a bike ride, for the first time, by myself,” she said while crying.

Kuiper's bike ride was in Chicago, where she spoke Monday on behalf of Test400K, the Chicago group that wants a nationwide backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits cleared up. The group Monday mailed unused rape kits to every governor in the U.S., saying that rape victims should receive emails and text messages regarding the progress of their rape kits, just like people track a shipment from Amazon.com. 

“We think the same thing should apply to the most sacred evidence we have in our society. That is, the evidence that is collected off of a victim’s body after a sexual assault,” Test400K co-founder Julie Smolyansky said.

In Illinois, state police say there are currently 1849 sex assault and abuse kits which have been in labs for more than 30 days waiting for DNA analysis. They're also hiring six new scientists to help reduce the backlog.

Smolyansky says she hopes Governor Rauner takes note of his Fed-Ex delivery.

“Unfortunately, we've fallen far behind and we are no longer leaders in investigating or analyzing these kits,” she said.

Each of the governors who gets a rape kit will also get a code which allows them to log in, and watch how rape kits could easily be tracked - instead of lost - as they move through the system.

The Chicago group is calling its new campaign, ‘Just Track It.’

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