The Reality Of Unboxing The Rape Kit

Ever wondered what kit police use when collecting rape evidence? This video demystifies the process


by Debrief Staff |
Published on

It’s the depressing truth that, for a lot of women who have been the victim of rape, going to the police seems like too much of a daunting, harrowing and (let’s face it) often fruitless exercise to consider. After going through the trauma of being sexually assaulted, being further prodded, poked and ‘examined’ can all just seem like too much, even if it means the chances of catching the assailant are massively improved the sooner after the attack you report the crime.

But what if part of the problem is the mystery surrounding the whole process of collecting evidence? If women knew exactly what was going to happen, would so many of us be as reluctant to go to the police?

Well it’s a theory being tested out by Time magazine in this video, which shows a detailed unpacking of the items that make up a rape kit.

It features clinical social working Monica Pombo, who explains that the purpose of the rape kit is ‘to preserve the evidence’ of the assault, which means that a properly used rape kit can be invaluable when it comes to law enforcement later down the line.

This kit – which is American – contains 15 envelopes which range from less intrusive procedures such as taking swabs of your saliva to more intrusive (and ‘very very traumatising’) swabs taken from the anus and genitals. According to Monica, these swabs can take up to 7 hours to complete depending on the emotional state or intoxication levels of the patient.

But what happens after the evidence has been collected and statements have been made? What else are victims provided with to help them deal with the trauma of what’s just happened to you.

‘The evidence collecting procedure is pretty grim, but the aftercare from medical professionals (if not the police) has been extensive and pretty faultless,’ Emma, who was raped by the friend of a friend after a house party at the beginning of this year, explains to The Debrief. ‘After providing a statement and getting medically examined, I was given drugs to prevent me from getting aids but all I could think about was having a shower as soon as possible as I could still smell him on me.

'The women I was dealing with were very kind and gave me a bag of nice shampoos and body lotions for me to use. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I didn’t have some of that stuff at home and would have had to schlep to the supermarket to get it. Obviously the whole thing is a massive mind fuck, but it was a nice gesture from them and obviously a process they’d thought about on their part.’

Nothing can prepare you for going through what a rape victim has to deal with – but these steps towards making the after-care process transparent can only help, can’t it?

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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