If you ever wanted a step-by-step description of how a rape exam is conducted in California (your state may vary - mine does), Sarah Tofte's OpEd in the LA Times is a good place to start. It's also a good place to start wondering why some women even bother - as Tofte points out, at least 400,000 collected rape kits in this country have yet to be examined by crime lab staff. In LA County, there is at least a 7,000 kit backlog, yet Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rejected a budgetary request by the LAPD to hire more crime lab staff. Rape exams are vitally important to rape prosecutions and convictions, yet they are also excruciatingly painful and unapologetically, demoralizingly clinical after one has been assaulted. Yet 400,000 women chose to go through that process assuming they were helping to build a case against the men who had brutalized them. Silly them. [LA Times]

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@I'm Chuck Bass: thank you for sharing your personal insight. god forbid, this may someday come in handy for someone. any time you are asking someon for help (eve when its their job) it's wise to make a personal appeal. You said:

So if you're ever a victim, it's probably worth it to make contact with any victims' rights person at the DA's office, and it probably doesn't hurt to contact an attorney with the office, as well (even if your case isn't in court yet). Prosecutors can be very sensitive to politics and pressures, and in many cases would rather do a little extra work to make a victim happy and avoid the waves she might make otherwise.