Debbie Smith Act

In yesterday’s blog I wrote about having briefly heard something on PBS television news about the Debbie Smith Act.  I still have been unable, on any news sites, to find out anything more about that news blip, but I do now know who Debbie Smith is and what the act is about.

I a press release from January 17, 2008 I found the following:

“The original Debbie Smith Act” was signed into law in 2004 as part of “The Justice for All Act,” comprehensive legislation that ensured that DNA evidence could be used to convict the guilty and free the innocent.  Since then, millions of dollars of federal funding have been appropriated under the Debbie Smith DNA Backing Grant Program to process the thousands of unprocessed DNA evidence kits–including rape kits–across the country.

Passing the original Debbie Smith bill was a huge victory for Debbie, and for the thousands of rape survivors like her.  Our bill is set to expire soon, but I will not stand by and let rapists roam free while the DNA evidence that could convict them goes unprocessed.  Reauthorizing the Debbie Smith Act will ensure we continue to keep rapists off our streets and put them in prison where they belong,”says Congresswoman Maloney. ”

“Representative Maloney authored the original “Debbie Smith Act” after rape survivor Debbie Smith testified before the House Government Reform Committee in June 2001 about using DNA evidence to solve rape cases.  Debbie Smith was raped near her home in 1989.  For six and a half years, she lived in fear that her attacker would return to kill her.  Only on the day that Debbie’s husband told her that the man who raped Debbie–who had been identified because of DNA evidence–was already in prison, was Debbie able to live without fear. ”

Well, as I wrote yesterday, getting the grant monies does not insure that law enforcement agencies are using it as it was designed.  This is a huge travesty, to say the least.  Also, on a previous blog I wrote about how great New York state is doing with their rape kits. 

There are actually rape-free cultures.  Obviously, we are not one of them.  Sexual violence is rampant in the USA, South Africa, and Peru.  There are other countries as well, but South Africa has the highest incidents of reported rape in the world.  Please note the word ‘reported.’  There may be some countries where women are not allowed to report it.  Of course, for a man to report having survived sexual violence is very rare, though a few courageous souls have done so.   I had the priveledge to go with International Justice Mission to Peru in 2003 on a mission trip to treat rape survivors there.  IJM partners with another ministry in Peru that has a special outreach to survivors.  Praise God!  I know of no other faith communities making such ministry a priority.  Rape has been rampant in Peru since the Lightning Path communist regime there.  

Rape free cultures.  It can seem like a radical concept.  However, it can be done.  I will write more on that later. 

More on the above legislation can be found at http://maloney. house.gov.  The title of the article is “Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2008 Introduced,”  January 17, 2008.

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