A harrowing investigation into law enforcement's failure to process hundreds of thousands of rape kits across Americaallowing many rapists to walk free.
In 2011, advocacy groups estimated that up to 250,000 rape kits sat untested in police storage across the country. These kits, some from crimes dating as far back as the mid-1990s, represent a disturbing breakdown in law enforcement that has allowed many violent criminals to remain on the streets. In some cases, rape victims are kept in the dark about the investigations into the crimes committed against them. Legal expert Linda Fairstein illustrates this injustice with the story of a Los Angeles woman whose experience, Fairstein writes, "is a tragic example of the outrageous backlog of untested rape kits that has existed nationwide for more than a decade." In The Rape Scandal that Puts You at Risk, Fairstein lays bare these failures of law enforcement and issues a rallying cry for women everywhere to demand change.
Originally published in Cosmopolitan, this essay is now available in digital format for the first time and features a new introduction by the author.