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Hi Amy,

My name is Claire and I am a 25 year old paralegal in New Jersey. Before I get to my question I want you to know that I read your book, Manifesta, and I found it very thought provoking as to what a woman's power can do. That was about a year ago. I am presently reading it again to find my inner power that can make changes in this world.

All of my life I have been told that I have a strong personality and I am an inspiring person. However, I am just at a point in my life where I know how to use that power to my advantage.

So here's my question:

On February 15th, Oprah had a show on the fact that rape kits performed on a rape "victims"(I hate that word) are sitting on shelves for years because the government doesn't want to shell out the $500. it takes to test the kit!! This is happening nationally.

There was a woman from California on the show that said she was raped, had the rape kit done, and did not get results for I believe 10 years. Once the results came in, and the rapists DNA was confirmed, the statute of limitations had run out and he couldn't be prosecuted. Also, during those 10 years he had raped and killed another woman. This completely outrages me!!!!!!!

I want to do something, only I don't know who to turn to? I am presently taking a criminal law class and my professor works for the prosecutor's office in Newark, New Jersey. She is checking things out. I thought I would run this by you and see what you thought.

I know you are a very busy woman and I would greatly appreciate any path you can lead me on to get a crusade together to fight this. Or let me know if there already is one and I'll join it!!!!

I really appreciate your time and thank you soooo much for the inspiration of MANIFESTA!!!!!!




Dear Claire,

Obviously you are right to be outraged and I'm guessing that since Oprah devoted a segment to this, other people are outraged, too. Her impact is incredible and so far reaching. I haven't heard of any other cases challenging this, but I certainly think that it is a must. I'm sure it gets challenged on a case by case basis and what is really needed is a class action suit of sorts, where the whole lot and process could be challenged and done away with. In a similar way, I'm hoping that someone will eventually bring a case against "evidence" in general as it pertains to death penalty cases, so many of those who were wrongfully convicted were charged as such based on what became known as faulty evidence.So in a similar way with these rape kits, I think it's a violation of their rights to be able to have falsified evidence or even faulty evidence used against them. We need a more sound measures. The same goes for the rape cases.

Anyway, what can you do in lieu of bringing this case out to the public? Have you thought about starting with just your state? Most hospitals themselves are private, not public, so they might consider this an expense that they might endure, even if the public ones won't. Also, how about doing a fundraising effort for rape kits. You could target this around a police precinct or a hospital and use it as a gimmick -- and, of course, a potentially good thing, too -- to raise awareness and potentially bring pressure via the media? People do these things because they think that no one is looking. How about asking tax payers to withhold that amount from their taxes or to write that expense into their taxes? Again a gimmicky way of getting attention. Have you connected with RAINN or one of the other rape awareness groups about what they are doing? You should certainly consider your own project, but joining forces is usually a more successful approach.

-- Amy


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