Why Do Rape Kits Sit Around Untested?

Nicholas Kristof writes an op-ed for the NYTimes about the appalling amount of time it takes for rape kits to actually be tested and how sometimes they are not even tested. It is something that as feminists we have talked about extensively and sexual assault survivor advocates have organized around. The lackadaisical nature of rape kit testing and the general nonchalance or downright ignorance with which police do not investigate rape cases, it becomes damn near impossible to prove someone has been raped. Unless of course, it is to disprove it to save someone’s reputation, but I digress.
In discussing the evasive procedure of “testing” for rape he writes,

It’s a grueling and invasive process that can last four to six hours and produces a “rape kit” — which, it turns out, often sits around for months or years, unopened and untested.
Stunningly often, the rape kit isn’t tested at all because it’s not deemed a priority. If it is tested, this happens at such a lackadaisical pace that it may be a year or more before there are results (if expedited, results are technically possible in a week).
So while we have breakthrough DNA technologies to find culprits and exculpate innocent suspects, we aren’t using them properly — and those who work in this field believe the reason is an underlying doubt about the seriousness of some rape cases. In short, this isn’t justice; it’s indifference.

True. Disgusting. Telling. Unjust.
UPDATE: Courtney wrote a column on this very subject this week.

Join the Conversation