Congress Delays Funding for Rape Kit Processing as Victim Drags Mattress in Search of Justice
You may have heard of Emma Sulkowicz; if not, you need look no further than the cover of New York magazine’s recent issue. On it she’s pictured holding her blue dorm room mattress, a weight she’s vowed to carry with her across Columbia University’s campus until her alleged rapist is expelled. Her performance art, titled “Carry That Weight/Mattress Performance,” has inspired a movement on campuses across the country as students use bedding to stand in solidarity with the Columbia student while also “tak[ing] a stand against sexual assault on college campuses.”
Though Sulkowicz’s now well-known protest began weeks before Congress decided to postpone funding to help rape victims, the student’s art can also be seen as a metaphor for the struggle other rape victims, on and off college campuses, face in their search for justice. A plight some of our elected representatives seem indifferent to, at best.
Last week, Congress once again delayed federal funding to help catch rapists.
Here’s the backstory. In March, President Barack Obama asked Congress to fund a new Justice Department program designed to help states and localities test backlogs of rape kits, which include DNA evidence taken after a sexual assault and are used to identify attackers. The funding would likely also go toward investigating and prosecuting rape cases.
There are over 100,000 untested kits sitting on shelves at police storage facilities around the country—some held for decades—partly because state and local governments lack the money to process them.
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata
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