Unprocessed Rape Kits

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

Jessica Ripley was raped in a parking garage in Salt Lake City, Utah. Upon her arrival at the hospital, a rape test was performed and police were contacted. When the responding officer interviewed Ripley, he alluded several times to the fact that she was intoxicated and should not have been somewhere the officer “would never allow his daughter to go.” Despite the evidence gathered in her rape kit, no advances were ever made in Ripley’s case.  As Emily Homrok reports for Truthout, this case is part of a larger trend:  Approximately 788 of more than 1000 rape kits have either been destroyed by Salt Lake City police, or left unprocessed, over a period of eight years.  Rape tests are often not taken seriously by police officers because the victims are seen as “dumb drunk girls.”

Salt Lake City’s unprocessed rape kits make up only a small portion of the number across the United States–which, according to a January 2014 White House report total well over 20,000. According to RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, approximately 68% of sexual assault cases go unreported.

Source: Emily Homrok, “How Often Do Rape Kits Go Unprocessed?” Truthout, October 3, 2014,  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26561-how-often-do-rape-kits-go-unprocessed.

Student Researcher: Jessika Bales (Indian River State College) and Nathan Bowman (College of Marin)

Faculty Evaluator: Jared Kinggard (Indian River State College) and Susan Rahman (College of Marin)