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Double Violation

After the assault -- the search for evidence is another violation. Source: redwolfoz hide caption

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Source: redwolfoz

Rape is a unique crime. It's worse in some ways, than almost any other kind of assault — a form of mental and physical torture that cannot help but leave its victims changed. Part of that is because of the nature of the crime itself — the victim is often treated with skepticism. And that skepticism, in turn, leads to a lack of reporting on sexual assault in general. But if a victim is brave enough to press charges, the process of recovering the evidence is like a second violation. Evidence collected for what's called a "rape kit" (hair, fluid, and other proof), is best recovered as soon after the attack as possible — which means a rape victim, mental and physical wounds still fresh, must submit to examination and photographs, and being handled by several different strangers. This process is disturbingly captured in Human Rights Watch's Sarah Tofte's article for the LA Times. (A small warning: the article is hard to read.) And after all that, Tofte reports, rape kits are shelved; sometimes, for years, while victims wait for answers. We'll talk about the process of evidence collecting today, feel free to share your thoughts.

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