Why Rape Kits Should Be Tested in Non-Stranger Cases


Women’s eNews commentator Sarah Tofte of the Joyful Heart Foundation argues against Wendy Murphy’s contention, reported in an earlier edition of Crime & Justice news, that rape-kit testing in non-stranger rape cases is a waste of resources, because the suspect has already been identified and a violation of victim’s privacy rights. Tofte says rape-kit testing can produce essential evidence in all kinds of rape cases.

She quotes former prosecutor Linda Fairstein as maintaining that rape-kit evidence in non-stranger cases can identify serial rapists, including serial acquaintance rapists, affirm a victim’s version of events, discredit the assailant and exonerate innocent defendants. In some cases, police apply the term acquaintance rape even when a prior connection between a victim and a suspect is extremely tenuous and, in any other context, would qualify them as strangers to one another.

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