The Shocking Numbers On Untested Rape Kits

Illustration for article titled The Shocking Numbers On Untested Rape Kits

As a teenager, Helena Lazaro was raped; it was over a decade before the authorities properly investigated her case. And the numbers suggest that Lazaro is far from the only one ill-served by the system.

Lazaro's experience is recounted in detail in this month's Marie Claire; the whole piece is worth reading, if difficult to get through, but here are some hard facts gleaned:

Age Lazaro was when she was raped by a 45-year-old trucker: 17.
Number of years it took for her rape kit to be opened, despite her repeated follow-ups: 13.
Amount of dollars it costs to test a rape kit: 1,500.


Number of women, in addition to Lazaro, her attacker is known to have raped: 2.
Number of victims the average rapist is likely to attack, according two studies: 7, 11.

Number of rape kits estimated to be untested nationwide: 180,000.
Number of unsolved rapes of the past five years: 150,070.
Number of untested rape kits Human Rights Watch found last year in Los Angeles alone: 12,669.

Percentage of the 7,974 rape kits Illinois police stored between 1995 and 2009 that were confirmed to have been tested: 20.
Portion of Illinois law enforcement agencies responding to the query to arrive at that figure: 1/3.
Number of days within which Illinois police now have to test rape kits, thanks to the new Sexual Assault Evidence Submission Act, the first of its kind: 10.

The Dangerous Rise In Untested Rape Kits [Marie Claire]
Eliminate the Rape Kit Backlog [Human Rights Watch]


Image via Mark Bouwman/Shutterstock

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All this plus the statute of limitations that seems to work against every rape victims favor, it's like everything is being done wrong. My cousin is in included in this article, I'm not sure how much is written about her. From her I've learned there is some petition going around to anonymize rape defendants?