Joyful Heart in the News

Let’s Talk About It: ‘Hundreds of thousands’ of rape kits are sitting on shelves

January 9, 2017
Ionia Sentinel-Standard

It was traumatic enough that in 1996, at just 17 years old, Helena was raped repeatedly by a stranger who approached her at a self-service car wash, pressing a knife to her throat before forcing her to drive to an abandoned truck yard. What followed was 13 years of being ignored by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Her rape kit—collected the same day that her rapist assaulted her, held her hostage, then freed her after threatening to kill her family if she went to police—sat on a shelf somewhere gathering dust for over a decade. Her calls about the status of the investigation went unreturned and Helena lived in fear that her rapist was walking free.

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