Category Archives: rape kits

NC Must Address Sexual Assault Law Deficiencies

My daughter goes to an NC university and I worry about her. I even signed her up for a self defense class before her freshman year. I knew the statistics of sexual assault on campuses are extremely high. However, I was shocked to read that “A third of female undergraduate UNC students reported sexual assault, survey found,” 10/15/19, Charlotte Observer. State laws must be improved to prosecute these crimes, and universities must do more. An Equal Rights Amendment would help long term.

Event with Feminists For All at UNC-CH, 9/27/19 Photo Credit: Gailya Paliga

The 2019 survey by the Association of American Universities reported that “nine percent of respondents said they were given a spiked drink or drugs without their knowledge before the assault.”

Continue reading

NC NOW Legislative Update #13 – Proposed Budget Part 1 – 29 April 2019

On Friday, 4/26/19, the House rolled out part of its budget. It includes an appropriation of 3 million dollars to test untested rape kits—Attorney General Josh Stein and Governor Cooper requested 6 million dollars. The anti-abortion Human Coalition, which funds crisis pregnancy centers, will receive 1.2 million dollars. Expect more budget information next week. For more information, see: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article229714994.html

It is always necessary to watch the budget bills because they often contain policy measures in addition to appropriations. For example, the House Education budget, released on Friday, April 26, contains a provision designed to prevent teachers from taking time off during a school day to go to the legislature to rally in support of educational issues, including their pay. The bill would require schools not to grant teachers a personal leave day unless they verify that a substitute teacher is available. Many school districts have closed schools on May 1 because there are not enough substitutes to fill in for the teachers who have taken a personal leave day to go to Raleigh.

Continue reading

Signature Ad Packet Delivery and Letter – 3/25/19

NC NOW members delivered the pro-choice signature ad packets to all of our representatives in the NC House and NC Senate on Monday, 3/25/19. The packets included a copy of the pro-choice signature ad that we ran in Indy Week in January (as we do every year), and a letter from NC NOW.

Photo Credit: Gailya Paliga

Continue reading

NC NOW Legislative Update #8 – 25 March 2019 – Modernizing Sexual Assault Laws

See whole legislative update at NC NOW Legislative Update #8.

This week [ending March 22, 2019] saw important actions on bills pertaining to sexual assault and rape.  SB46 (identical to HB29) passed out of the Judiciary Committee and now is in the Senate Rules Committee.  This bill appropriates funds to begin testing of the backlog of untested rape kits.  The bill will need to be heard by the Appropriations Committee, where it will be considered for inclusion in the budget.

North Carolina is the only state that does not permit a woman to revoke consent once sex has begun.  Senator Jeff Jackson has repeatedly introduced legislation to correct this omission in our law, and he has indicated that he will try again this session. He believes that this time the legislation has a real chance of passing.  His bill has not yet been introduced.

An important bill (HB393, Modernizing Sexual Assault Laws) has been introduced to tighten North Carolina law concerning how sexual assault is defined and prosecuted and to increase the chance that prosecution could result in a conviction. 

Continue reading

NC NOW 2019 Legislative Update #2 – War on Repro Rights Again – 2/11/19

NC NOW Logo

The second NC NOW Legislative Update is available as of 2/11/19. Some bad news is the war on women’s reproductive rights has begun with the introduction of two threatening bills. Some good news is that bills were introduced to test the backlog of untested rape kits statewide, to address a problem of sexual abuse of children, and to address a domestic violence. Plus there are bills on Silent Sam controversy. The summary is here. Find the whole NC NOW Legislative Update at North Carolina NOW Legislative Update #2 – 11 February 2019

The war on women’s reproductive rights has begun with the introduction of two threatening bills.  

Continue reading

NC NOW 2019 Legislative Update #1 – ERA is On! 2/4/19

NC NOW’s Legislative Update for the first week of the 2019 long session includes ERA Advocacy Day, link to new legislators from both parties, talk of medicaid expansion, update on rape kit processing, and revival of ‘floaters’ as ways for Republicans to control committees.

The General Assembly reconvened on Wednesday, January 30 to begin this year’s session. Members were sworn in on January 9, and this link lists the newly elected members of both parties: https://www.ncallianceforhealth.org/2019-nc-general-assembly-session-convenes/

ERA Advocates at the NC General Assembly on 1/30/19.  Photo Credit: Mike Oniffrey

Continue reading

2019 Women’s Marches in NC

Women are getting the women’s marches going around NC. We know of 4 women’s march and rallies so far. Note: two added after the fact – Black Mountain on 1/19/19 and Albamarle/Stanly County on 1/12/19.

Note: this post will be split up into original notice of upcoming marches and summaries of the marches at a later time.

1. Women’s March On Asheville 2019 – January 20, 2019, 11am-2pm, S Pack Square, Asheville NC 28801.  The theme is “We Believe Survivors!”
Event at – https://www.facebook.com/events/316740779104600/

Women’s March On Asheville, 2018 Photo Credit: Women’s March On Asheville

Continue reading

Women Rising Up NOW! In Raleigh on 10/20/18

We have record numbers of women running for office in 2018 because women are rising up! We have women organizing regular protests around the state – NC has weekly protests in Raleigh and Wilmington! Mostly women are protesting at the Kavanaugh hearings and around the state and country. Because Women are Rising Up NOW! 

Please join us at our NC NOW State conference to meet some of these women in NC and learn some skills to help you rise up as well! Register for the conference online here. Register by mail using NC NOW News Fall 2018 Registration Page (v2) (print and mail).

We are honored to announce that our keynote speaker is Civil Rights attorney, Anita Earls.

Civil Rights Attorney Anita Earls at Women’s Rally On Raleigh, 1/20/18. Photo Credit: Yevonne Brannon

Continue reading

Jones: Make Rape Kit Testing a Priority

About 30 years ago, my sweet, elderly aunt for whom I was named was brutally beaten and raped in the country church where I was baptized and where five generations of my ancestors are buried. She had gone there on a Saturday morning to practice the organ selections for the next day. A neighboring farmer and family friend found her naked and barely alive on the church steps. She survived to bear witness in a courtroom where they acquitted her rapist. No DNA evidence was supplied. The following week, all of the witnesses that provided an alibi for her rapist received new cars from the car dealership belonging to the rapist’s father. Rape is usually a serial offense. Eventually, he was convicted after raping a young woman after her car broke down, stranding her on the highway. DNA evidence from a rape kit finally nailed him and thankfully, he is now in prison.

The young man who date-raped my little sister when she was in high school is still out there. A rape kit might have convicted him. We know that one in four rape kits results in conviction, a reason that former Cuyahoga County prosecutor, Tim McGinty, calls rape kits “the best bargain in the history of law enforcement.”

Continue reading

Peeples: Why is Evidence Ignored in Storage and Thrown Away?

NC may have the most untested rape kits in the nation (15,160 reported from 92% of law enforcement agency reports submitted). It is clear that too many rape kits are going unprocessed in NC and the NC General Assembly is not providing money to test or to track them, even in the face of this astounding backlog. It is also significant that none were reported from any universities (according to the report from Attorney General Josh Stein’s office). But when rapes are reported in NC, the state is falling down on the job – not processing the evidence and actually sometimes throwing away the evidence. Ignoring the evidence causes more damage in the long run, allowing rapists to run amok in NC and move on to other states. And there are many advantages of testing them as soon as possible.

“Every $1 spent on the analysis of a kit returns $81 from averted future assaults.”

The 81 to 1 savings is according to an article reviewing the research of two Stanford University professors published “Analyzing approaches to the backlog of untested sexual assault kits in the USA,” 3/5/18, Journal of Forensic Science. The article also states that the $81 may be a conservative estimate and it could go as high as $3,000 for every $1 spent. The professors estimate that there are around 400,000 untested sexual assault kits in the backlog in the U.S.A.

Sexual Assault Kits on display at NC NOW State Conference in 2017. Photo Credit: Catherine Evangelista

Their reviews of police data for jailed perpetrators suggest that the average number of assault victims per assailant is around 26. The cost of testing a kit ranges from $700 to $1500.

Continue reading