JACKSON, Tenn.- Hundreds of rape kits sit inside the Jackson Police Department. About half of them have never been processed. It is a problem cities across the country are dealing with to the outrage of rape victim advocates.
Despite what appears to be large numbers, Jackson Police and local advocates said victims are being given a voice. Daryl Chansuthus, Executive Director of Wo/Men's Resource & Rape Assistance Program (WRAP) said the 426 rape kits in evidence at the Jackson Police Department is actually not alarming.
"That JPD is doing so well is not surprising to me given the level of assistance that I see our victims receive from the Jackson Police Department," said Chansuthus.
Police said of the 426 rape kits date back to 1998. More than 177 of those have been processed. An additional 40 are being held for neighboring counties. Testing the kit each time cost at least $400, according to Capt. Mike Holt with the Jackson Police Department.
For some victims, the statute of limitations may prevent punishment of the alleged attacker. Rape cases have about eight years and aggravated rape around 15 years.
Chansuthus said sometimes it can take victims decades to come to terms.
"Their thought is I want to be as far away from this as I can be. I don't want this to have happened to me," she said.
For now, Jackson Police said it keeps the kits indefinitely. Chansuthus knows that is a costly option,but one that gives hope to victims.