If Reporting A Robbery Was Like Reporting A Rape: Why Most Rapists Never Do Jail Time (VIDEO)

In case you are wondering why 97 out of every 100 rapes go unpunished, look no further than the grueling and humiliating process of reporting a rape. And then there’s that thing about the eternally “backlogged” rape kits

According to the Rape, Incest And Abuse National Network (RAINN), 293,000 Americans are sexually assaulted each year, yet a whopping 68 percent of these assaults never get reported to the police. Furthermore, another report from RAINN reveals that out of every 100 rapes, 46 get reported to police, 12 lead to arrest, nine get prosecuted, five lead to a felony conviction, and only three wind up doing any prison time. That’s right. The other 97 walk free.

Why do so many rapes go unpunished? Many victims — the majority of whom are women — fear that no one will believe them, that they will be found at fault, or that their assailant will find out and retaliate against them. And in all too many cases, these fears are correct. Those who have the courage to report their rape to the police are met with exactly the skepticism, bias, and scorn they expected.

Then cops tell rape victims they can’t do anything without “physical evidence,” but when women demand a “rape kit” for collecting DNA evidence — a surefire way to prove what happened and put the rapist behind bars — they are told no kits are available due to a “backlog” that doesn’t really exist. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of rape kits lie around unused in police departments and crime storage units across the nation.

If police treated a robbery report like a rape report.

Most of us have no idea of how humiliating and pointless it feels for rape victims to file a report, but Cynthia Kao plans to change that. On Feb. 24, this talented filmmaker (best known for her work on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) released a scorching video titled “If A Robbery Report Was Treated Like A Rape Report.” In it, a man tries to report a stolen laptop but the police officers treat him with open skepticism and contempt and clearly want him to let the matter drop.

As the officers enter the victim’s home, they warn him from the get-go:

“If I file a report, you’re gonna bring a lot of negative attention to this neighborhood, and to yourself…”

Then the pair of cops express concern over the “lack of physical evidence” because the locks and windows aren’t broken, and one sneeringly demands:

“How do I know that you didn’t want someone to take your computer. Had you been drinking?”

When the man gets frustrated, they threaten to use his “bad behavior” in their report. When he asks them to dust for fingerprints, the cops nix that because they’re “backlogged” for fingerprinting kits. The video ends when they ask, “So, are you ready to drop this thing?”

The scenario presented in Kao’s video is painfully absurd. If people got treated like that when reporting a robbery, the public would vent their outrage and there’s no way we’d put up with it. Which should make any rational person wonder why the hell rape victims have to put up with that crap.

Here’s the video.

Once a rape victim gets over the hurdle of shame and actually files a report, the next big obstacle is getting police to actually use those rape kits to get the DNA evidence needed to secure a conviction. End the Backlog — which seeks to make enough rape kits available — explains:

In the past, the federal government estimated that hundreds of thousands of rape kits sit untested in police and crime storage facilities across the country in what is known as the rape kit backlog. Each kit represents a lost opportunity to bring healing and justice to a survivor of sexual violence.

We cannot be sure of the total number of untested kits nationwide because most jurisdictions do not have systems for tracking or counting rape kits. Only three states—Illinois, Texas and Colorado—require law enforcement agencies to count, track and test their untested kits. There is no federal law mandating a nationwide movement toward tracking and testing rape kits, despite efforts by some members of Congress to pass such legislation.

To learn more and find out how you can help, visit End the Backlog.


Featured image: Video screen grab/Cynthia Kao’s “If A Robbery Report Was Treated Like A Rape Report.”