Iowa Tells Rape Victims to be Patient
Several Months Wait for Evidence to be Tested
The Des Moines Register is reporting that rape victims in Iowa are being forced to wait months for the processing of evidence to be completed.
In late February, 42-year-old Gina Battani told her local police she was sexually assaulted by someone she knew.
But nearly seven months later, analysis of the evidence collected from her case has not been completed by the state crime lab — while the man she has accused walks free.
She’s called at least 10 times, only to be told there is a backlog and it’s in process.
“I’ve been told to be patient,” said Battani, who lives in central Iowa.
“I have felt so insignificant — that I didn’t matter.”
Battani is far from alone. Frustrated rape victims are waiting months — or sometimes even more than a year — for Iowa’s overwhelmed crime lab to process DNA evidence that is crucial to their cases, allowing their suspected attackers to avoid arrest.Kathy A. Bolten
where’s the funding?
A few years back, while on vacation, I witnessed a sight I never thought I’d see in the United States. Something I’d previously associated only with third world countries. Police in armored cars.
No riots. Zero civil unrest. Streets were not cordoned off. Yet, there they were, a tactical response team out flexing its militaristic muscles.
Images of police dressed in imposing riot gear may act as a deterrent for civil unrest, but it all comes with a serious price tag. Tech gear and armaments are expensive. Armored cars are very expensive.
Yet, we can’t properly fund (and manage) our crime labs…
The popularity of crime lab shows on television leads people to believe that technology produces convictions. It does. But, that technology is of no use if the evidence is still sitting on a shelf.
Rape victims deserve better. All victims of violent crimes deserve better.
When a rape victim like Gina Battani ends up feeling insignificant, forgotten, betrayed by a system that has its priorities backward, there is a serious problem.
As the system works today, victims of sexual assault are being victimized a second time by the state. Yet, the solution is so simple. Find the political will to properly fund our crime labs. It doesn’t really matter too much how the funding is found.
- Add another surcharge to the court costs/fees paid by individuals who have been convicted of violent crimes, with the proceeds funding increases in staff for crime labs.
- Add a fee for every individual released from custody on bond.
- Hold off on purchasing a few armored cars.
- Cut a small percentage of funds budgeted for militarized tactical response teams.
- Eliminate out-of-state travel by state employees for conferences. Video conference instead.
- Subscribe to a few less professional publications, some of which cost thousands of dollars.
I’m sure there is a myriad of ways to make it happen. To slightly twist an old cliche: Where there’s the (political) will, there’s always a way!
But please, whatever is done, do it with some urgency. Mr Politician, treat this issue as if your own daughter had been raped. Light a fire under somebody’s ass. Take a page from Nike’s book – just do it!