Sexual assault survivors will be able to keep track of the location and status of their rape kits with the state's new tracking system, but what happens with the more than 7,200 untested kits already sitting in evidence rooms?
According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation website, those untested kits also will be tested, but they don't say whether they will be tested before new cases, or if new cases will move to the head of the line.
We want to see someone held accountable for processing the rape kits, but we also want to see kits that have been sitting around on shelves processed in a more timely manner.
How horrible to go through a sexual assault. The assault is then exacerbated by a sexual assault exam. The exams are traumatic, painful and are lengthy. Then, when a sexual assault survivor has to wait while their evidence sits forgotten on a shelf, they're pretty sure their case may never make it to court. It's hard to live with. Survivors believe no one cares.
The OSBI will operate the new electronic system that will allow victims to monitor the location and status of their rape kits.
"I'm hoping it will hold all of us accountable to make sure that we don't let victims fall through the cracks," said Andrea Fielding, division director of criminalistics for the OSBI. “The ultimate goal for the state is that we're able as a state to strengthen all of our programs that are related to sexual assault.”
We hope the OSBI will be able to make some headway with some of the older cases as well as new ones. At least with the new system, someone will be held accountable.