Ation Jamie, Amanda Beland, Higgins discussed on Radio Boston

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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Well outta handle that trauma that retraumatize ation jamie. I'd love to jump in here. And i'm sure a representative higgins would agree with me that i we always say certainly in the rape crisis centers there seventeen across the commonwealth. That anyone who is thinking about that and it has not yet done that or is considering doing that to reach out to their local rape crisis center to get the really vital and important support they can have through this process While they and if they decide that they want to pursue what happened to that evidence and follow that i think that is critical in the For for victims and survivors of of sexual violence. Re re pins if i may. I know this this is emotional And i learned from our producer. Amanda beland That your former rape crisis counselor and a survivor of assault yourself. And i'm just wondering how your life experiences Inform your commitment to this work. I think you cut out for a second. But but i think i got the gist. I mean for me. I'm really thankful for the opportunity to be able to continue to work with organizations like pathway for change on the policy side of this and to bring survivor stories forward. But i will admit having done this work for more than a decade. I'm frustrated that we're continuing to have these conversations about why it's really important that we test sexual assault evidence kits why it might stifle survivors from coming forward. If the kids aren't getting fully tested if that's learned that these are just the sixty three hundred kits that were reported to law enforcement there are eight thousand other kids in the crime lab that were reported to law enforcement and want tested like mine. And we're not even. We're not even getting to that yet. I would love to have a conversation about that. But we're still fighting over the berry berry. Small percentage of kits where someone knew that they could have a sexual assault evidence. Kit collected generally within seventy two hours of of a sexual assault. Andrew had the courage and the supports able to report that assault to the police. That is such a small percentage of the sexual violence that happens in our communities. Yeah i agree. And i would say from the rape crisis center to um to piggyback on. What representative higgins just stated that it is imperative an important to also understand that rape crisis centers that work with survivors knowing that. This is actually an expectation that the kids be tested. That if we tell survivors. Yes you're kit will be tested and then it is not now you have destroyed the trust that you built with the survivor. So if this continues to happen where the commonwealth is not doing what it really should be doing. Then than survivors will start not coming forward. They won't go to get forensic evidence you know taking the the problem becomes bigger and amplified when we're not doing what we know. We need to do so final question for for both of you. Same question what would you like to see. Change long-term for sexual assault survivors. All start with you rep higgins. I'm really hopeful. That burke mpn a place where we survivors the auction to have their kit testbed fully tested. Dna tested whether or not they report their assault to the police at the at the initial collection of the kid. And that's something i'm working on. I am heartens with our rape kits tracking that It looks like we will not have a backlog going forward in two thousand eighteen on and so that's a really good place to start from But i'm hopeful that we can continue to have more conversations about how we empower survivors through through all of these processes and kim Can you maybe.

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