Forced to do so by the Legislature, Minnesota police departments report that there are thousands of untested rape kits in their possession and the Star Tribune reported this week they’re in no hurry to test them.
The Legislature mandated the inventory report in a recent law but it did not require the investigators to test the evidence for use in rape trials.
Particularly surprising is the reason a third of the rape kits have not been tested: the victims didn’t want to report the assault or pursue a case of rape.
Can we blame them? No other crime involves systemic punishment for its victim as rape does.
This morning, a rape victim came forward to reveal her identity. Her name is Chessy Prout, and she’s the woman who says she was raped at the prestigious St. Paul’s school in New Hampshire, a case that became a symbol for the difficulty rape victims have in pursuing their attackers, and the propensity of institutions of learning to cover for them.
“I want everyone to know that I am not afraid or ashamed anymore, and I never should have been,” Prout told NBC’s Today show.
Owen Labrie, accused of rape in a senior ritual at the school, was convicted of misdemeanor charges.
“They said that they didn’t believe that he did it knowingly, and that frustrated me a lot because he definitely did do it knowingly,” Prout said. “And the fact that he was still able to pull the wool over a group of people’s eyes bothered me a lot and just disgusted me in some way.”
She tried to go back to school at St. Paul’s. But she was shunned.
“Everybody pretty much knew,” she said. “None of my old friends that were boys would even talk to me. They wouldn’t even look me in the eyes … and nobody was talking about the issue itself. They weren’t trying to prevent it from happening to anyone else.”
Prout said only her family’s support helped her survive her ordeal.
“Somebody’s got my back, and somebody’s going to believe me, and somebody’s going to help me,” she said. “And even when I get my panic attacks and I lock myself in my closet because I don’t want my little sister to see me like that, she comes into my room sometimes and she’ll come into my closet when I’m rocking on the floor and punching my legs trying to get myself to calm down, and she’ll try to give me the biggest hug and she’ll say ‘Chessy you’re okay.’”
“And I just can’t imagine how scary it is for other people to have to do this alone.”