December 28, 2016
Dear Rep. Donald Beyer, Senators Timothy Kaine and Mark Warner:
As Congress considers the Fiscal Year 2017 federal budget, I ask you to support funding to address the nation’s backlog of untested DNA evidence from unsolved sex crimes, commonly referred to as the “rape kit backlog.” Based on public reports, we know that more than 100,000 sexual assault forensic evidence kits (“rape kits”) sit untested and unaccounted for, gathering dust on evidence room shelves or in warehouses. Each kit represents a victim who deserves justice and a potential serial criminal who may strike again.
As your constituent, a survivor of sexual assault in the Marine Corps and a public speaker on sexual violence issues, I ask you to support funding that will help us get to the root of the problem and ensure that every victim who comes forward has an equal opportunity for justice. Specifically, please support continued funding for the purposes of the Debbie Smith Act, which ensures that public crime labs have the capacity to meet testing demand, as well as for the Bureau of Justice Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), which supports community-based, coordinated responses to end the rape kit backlog.
This is important to me and other survivors of sexual violence, and I will look for your support for these critical efforts. Thank you for your time and consideration.