The Uncommon Life

RAINN and the Rape Kit Backlog

September 21, 2017

Editor’s Note: Today—September 21, 2017—is RAINN Day, an annual day of action designed to raise awareness and provide education to college students about sexual violence on campus. Although we’re not exactly a campus, we’ve chosen today to pay special tribute to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, better known as RAINN, with whom we’ve proudly partnered for nearly a decade. Read on for more on how you can help RAINN with one of their most urgent, challenging initiatives: addressing the rape kit backlog in the US.

Across the US, an estimated 100,000-plus rape kits sit untested in crime labs, evidence rooms, and police headquarters. Although these kits contain DNA evidence with the potential to solve crimes of sexual violence and identify repeat offenders, they remain untouched, often for reasons that are difficult to pinpoint. In a world where 1 in 6 American women (and 1 in 33 men) has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape, DNA evidence is an invaluable asset—one we can’t afford to let languish in storage. And that’s why RAINN, our Better to Give partner of seven years, needs your help.

RAINN’s work on the rape kit backlog spans years, and includes efforts to raise awareness of the issue by educating lawmakers and the general public. Still, there remains a great deal to be done in every state. Our causes page provides detailed information on the scope of the problem, with links to case studies and survivor resources and a simple form that allows you to contact your representatives directly in support of funding to address the issue.

What else can you do? Make a donation to RAINN, either directly, at, or through our Better to Give program, which allows you to pick a non-profit partner of your choice at checkout to receive a $1 donation, at no additional cost to you. (RAINN also receives $5 from each purchase of our Hope Shines Necklace, designed with their collaboration, and of our new Keep Marching Necklace.) With your help—whether that means $1 or one phone call to your state senator—we at UncommonGoods can successfully support RAINN’s mission to address the rape kit backlog and attain justice for survivors of sexual violence across the country.

RAINN is part of a team of national experts providing technical assistance and support to cities and states around the country that receive Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) funding to tackle existing and future backlogs. Click here to learn the status of your state’s backlog.

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