Texas governor says he is dedicated to eliminating rapists. The state has greater than 5,000 untested rape kits


The Texas legislation barring abortions at six weeks of being pregnant has girls’s rights advocates up in arms for plenty of causes, not least as a result of it makes no exceptions for circumstances of rape or incest.

For Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, that is not a giant subject, since “Texas will work tirelessly to guarantee that we eradicate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets,” Abbott mentioned final week.

How, these advocates ask, will Texas do this when it has greater than 5,000 rape kits nonetheless untested, languishing on cabinets across the state? And when there have been as many as 18,000 incidents of rape within the state in a 12 months?

“That will be a gorgeous factor to see, but it surely’s not going to occur,” Lavinia Masters, a rape survivor and an advocate for different survivors, mentioned of Abbott’s promise. “It is not real looking.”

Statistics from the Texas Division of Public Security (DPS) present that as of August 2021, there have been 5,298 untested sexual assault kits, together with 1,716 kits throughout the DPS crime lab system and three,582 unsubmitted kits that stay with legislation enforcement businesses throughout the state.

And that is not counting the kits that might nonetheless be untested on the 231 legislation enforcement businesses that didn’t reply to the state audit, though it’s required by legislation.

Masters was 13 when she was raped by somebody who broke into her Dallas residence and held a knife to her throat. Her rape package sat on a shelf for greater than 20 years earlier than it was examined.

Her rapist, lastly recognized by the package proof, was already in jail, having gone on to rape two different girls.

The statute of limitations had expired in her case.

A invoice Abbott signed in 2019 designed to audit untested rape kits throughout the state and set strict testing necessities was named the Lavinia Masters Act. Masters was there when he signed the invoice, and she or he is a member of Abbott’s sexual assault survivor’s activity pressure.

Texas state Rep. Victoria Neave has been working alongside Masters for years to clear the rape package backlog. At one level, there have been about 19,000 untested kits.

“Every field is not only a field sitting on a shelf. It represents a survivor’s story. It represents a person, a household who has been impacted by this,” Neave instructed CNN. “It represents girls who’re ready for justice.”

The state is making the rape kits a precedence, Neave mentioned, and it has accredited $50 million to assist check the kits, however a part of the issue is a scarcity of forensic investigators to course of them, she mentioned.

Masters mentioned she nonetheless will get indignant when she thinks about her case.

“I do know that you just did not care about me and what occurred to me,” she mentioned of officers. “And so that you simply shelved me. And I do know that is a part of my ardour, and why I get so indignant with this.”

Past the backlog, the brand new Texas legislation banning abortions after six weeks even within the case of rape and incest, infuriates Masters. She mentioned she is aware of that if she had gotten pregnant from that rape, she would not have identified in time to finish the being pregnant.

She would have needed to carry and ship her rapist’s baby, at 13 years outdated.

“I might be compelled to hold that child,” Masters mentioned. “That is not even frequent sense.”

Neave voted in opposition to the brand new laws, which she mentioned will result in girls once more trying harmful abortions on themselves with out medical assist.

“That laws is taking us backwards,” she mentioned. “And the worry and concern that we’ve is that should you can not have a medical physician carry out that process, that we’ll have girls doing it in a storage, or going again to the period of the hangers. And that could be a concern.”

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