Dear Congressman Hal Rogers & Senator Barbara Mikulski,
Team Ronan, and all those who’ve signed this letter, are asking you to address a major crisis: the nationwide rape kit backlog. The National Institute of Justice estimates 400,000 rape kits are sitting on a shelf—ignored and untested. Each represents a potential rapist walking free, and a victim without justice.
Memphis, for instance, is at the top of the list with more than 12,000 backlogged. We met a young woman there who was raped in 2003. Her kit went untested for nine years; the DNA inside was finally linked to a neighborhood rapist after she demanded authorities reopen her case in 2012. Her attacker was a serial rapist. He is now serving 178 years behind bars for the rape of seven Memphis area women and girls – six, including the rape of a 12-year-old girl, happened while Meaghan’s kit sat untested.
Memphis has since reformed its policy to test rape kits. But one daunting problem remains: a lack of funding.
That’s why we are asking you to assure the inclusion of the $41 million in funding for the 2015 FY Commerce, Justice & Science Appropriations Bill to help clear the backlog of rape kits across the U.S. This grant money will be an investment in justice—and all of us who’ve signed this letter implore you to vote yes for this vitally important money.