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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