Op-Ed – Is Rape Serious? – NYTimes.com

April 30, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Posted in Human Rights | Leave a comment

Op-Ed Columnist – Is Rape Serious? – NYTimes.com.

This article really shocked me. I mean, I thought we had come further. You hear about the DNA testing, the collection of evidence, and just assume well, if that obstacle is crossed, then that’s half the battle.

I never imagined that the other half of the battle would be–apathy? indifference?–whatever it is that’s preventing the rape kits from being tested and investigated, oh, say, before the 10-year statute of limitations is expired.

Perhaps that was naive of me.

The image at the start of the article haunts me. After being violated in a deep and damaging way, a woman then must strip, so authorities can collect hairs and fibres and DNA. She gets examined with an ultraviolet light and photographed thoroughly in a process that takes four to six hours. In other words, this collection of evidence comprises a second violation of her boundaries and of herself. But this one is consensual (or at least semi-consensual–she may not have realised this would be the consequence of reporting the crime), in the wake of the trauma of rape, because she’s hoping it will make a difference–that it will help bring a crime to light and initiate prosecution of the perpetrator.

Instead, after all that, the evidence languishes and may never see the light of day. And the woman is violated a third time, when her trust in the system–her belief that she had some kind of recourse, as the victim of a violent crime–proves to be completely unfounded. A travesty indeed.

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