If We Want To Take Sexual Assault Seriously, We Need To Test Thousands Of Rape Kits First

Here in the United States, which came first: A victim-blaming rape culture, or a police force that doesn’t take sexual assault cases seriously? It’s a classic chicken-and-egg situation. There’s no right answer.

But it is obvious that law enforcement officials’ approach to sexual crimes plays a big role in furthering our cultural approach to rape. In the most recent example, for instance, the Florida State Attorney’s office decided not to bring sexual assault charges against Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston, a star football player and Heisman Trophy front-runner. Whether or not Winston actually committed the crime, that high-profile case illustrated many of the issues at play in rape investigations across the country — police were slow to respond, investigators seemed skeptical the case would actually go anywhere, and it was easier to decide the victim was lying than it was to prove she wasn’t. As Deadspin pointed out, the Florida State Attorney made it clear that “he felt that he couldn’t get a conviction, not that a crime had not taken place.”

Those are exactly the dynamics that the Joyful Heart Foundation, a national organization seeking to eliminate violence against women and girls, wants to change.

Read the full article on ThinkProgress.

-December 10th, 2013

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