One of the reasons I’m strict about who can access this page is so we can talk about things like today’s Vagina News.
Yesterday, a reader and dear friend sent me a story about video and photos circulating online of US soldiers raping Iraqi women in the course of conducting military operations. I watched enough to know that it’s a) a really important story, and b) a HUGE risk for both triggering and exploitation.
(Anyone interested can find it pretty easily. Please be warned, every article I found contained photos and video, much of it above the fold and on autoplay.)
I feel trapped. This is the kind of crime that breeds through secrecy and darkness and desperately needs the disinfectant of widespread public attention, especially in light of the larger conversation happening right now about rape culture in the military.
BUT… There are significant risks in making this kind of material widely available, both in retraumatizing victims, and in fueling people and groups that would exploit it for sexual gratification and/or profit.
So that’s my question for you. What do we do? How do we tell the truth about what’s happening and ensure these crimes are witnessed without adding to the trauma and exploitation they’ve already caused?
If a woman is raped, and IF the attack leaves physical evidence (ie she’s conscious, no condom, etc.), and IF she reports the crime immediately and submits to a three-hour physical exam, and IF the attacker’s DNA is already in the FBI’s database, there’s a good chance he’ll be prosecuted, right?
Prosecutor Kym Worthy has been using federal grant money to
begin testing Detroit’s backlog of 11,303 rape kits. They were found in a
police warehouse in 2009. No one knows how long they’ve been there, but many
are beyond the statue of limitations for prosecuting rape.
Within the first 153 kits tested, they found 21 serial
rapists (the DNA matched multiple victims), and 38 more matched DNA already in
the FBI’s database. In one instance, five women were raped and murdered by the
same man – a convicted rapist who’d been released. Had the first kit been
tested as soon as it was entered, those women might still be alive.
More than 70% of rapists are repeat offenders. It’s
estimated that hundreds of thousands of rape kits are currently sitting on
shelves, untested, across the US. Rape kits cost up to $1500 to test, and are
often considered “low priority” by police.
To learn more, read the article below, then Google ‘Debbie
Smith Act’ and ‘SAFER Act’.