In theory, a do-it-yourself rape kit, where a victim of rape or sexual assault collects evidence in the privacy of his or her home, seems like a good idea. Going to the police or a hospital after a rape is immeasurably difficult for some. There’s a stigma, and victims may fear mistreatment at the hands of law enforcement or hospital personnel. But advocates and others say newly introduced home rape kits are roughly as useless as the boxes they come in. There’s no guarantee self-collected evidence is admissible in court, and the kits aren’t nearly as comprehensive as those offered by the state.
Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted and every eight minutes that victim is a child, according to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. People ages 12 to 34 are at the highest risk for rape and sexual assault.
Detective Brendan Gibbs of the New York Police Department said he has investigated 40 to 50 sexual assault cases during his 13 years on the police force. He said the victims have usually ranged in ages from 15 to 17. The victims are mostly Hispanic females who have been assaulted by a relative or a person who is very close to the family, he said.
What do we mean when we talk about rape? A new University of North Dakota study found that 1 in 3 male students said they would force a woman to have sexual intercourse if they thought they could get away with it. That’s rape, isn’t it? By North Dakota’s definition, forcing anyone to have sexual contact is the legal definition of rape. But researchers didn’t use the word “rape” in the study until later.