Neglected Rape Kits Reveal 817 Serial Predators In Detroit

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In a backlog crisis in the United States, abandoned rape kits uncover 817 serial predators in Detroit with people of color among the majority who seldom receive justice

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In a miscarriage of justice, 11,341 untested rape kits slipped through the cracks in Detroit, Michigan, alone, and out of that number, 817 are identified serial rapists.

The backlog crisis in the United States uncovered 400,000 abandoned sexual assault kits. That means that there are potentially 29,000 unknown serial rapists walking the streets of America.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy took on the brave task of seeing the criminals of Detroit brought to justice. The discovered kits were tested over eight years as part of Worthy's Enough SAID funding project, and they date back to as early as 1984.

Worthy admits that there are many more sexual assaults taking place than the public is led to believe because "[a] rapist rapes on average seven to 11 times before they're caught. ... Of our set of 817 ... over 50 of them have 10 to 15 hits apiece." 

According to Newsweek, non-profit organization End the Backlog discovered that thousands of rape kits are collecting dust in police storage rooms and crime labs throughout the U.S. 

In 2015, former Vice President Joe Biden gave $41 million in federal grants for kits to be processed, and End the Backlog said that the goal is to stop serial rapists.

But exactly who's being protected?

Worthy makes it a point to shed light on the rape culture at the Detroit police department where officers allegedly turn their backs on rape cases that involve people of color.

"[Eighty-six percent] of our victims in these untested kits are people of color. You're not going to find too many blond-haired, blue eyed white women," said Worthy. "... Because their kits are treated differently, their cases are solved. That's just the way it is in this country."

Fortunately, some states have addressed this issue better than others. In California, two laws have been passed. One "requires all law enforcement agencies and labs to use a statewide system to track new kits, and another that strengthens rape victims' right to know the location and status of their kits," according to Newsweek.

That's a great move. Now other states need to get onboard.

Banner/thumbnail credit: Pixabay, Counselling

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