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Sarah Tofte

Entries by Sarah Tofte

Wayne County Must Put Safety of Its Communities First

(0) Comments | Posted June 7, 2013 | 12:03 PM

With Wednesday's announcement that the State of Michigan may provide $4 million in funding to help test old rape kit evidence in Detroit, Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette made it clear that preventing and prosecuting sexual assaults in Detroit is a priority for Michigan's leaders.

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2011: The Year of National Rape Kit Backlog Reform

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2010 | 9:22 AM

The end of a year inspires bold predictions for the next one. At the end of this year, I am predicting that 2011 will be a year of unprecedented reform of the backlog of untested rape kits in the United States. Given the movement we saw in 2010 -- communities...

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For Rape Victims, a Dead End on Justice

(3) Comments | Posted July 19, 2010 | 12:38 PM

The young woman, Stephanie, came to see me in my New York office. She had been raped in Chicago two years earlier, and had heard from an advocate there for rape victims that I was writing a report on untested DNA evidence from rape cases in Illinois. I took her...

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On the Road to Justice

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2010 | 3:12 PM

Illinois could soon become an unexpected champion of justice for a group too often ignored by police and politicians - rape victims. While popular television dramas (like "Law and Order" and "CSI") routinely portray such women at the center of serious investigations in which the bad guy is identified by...

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City Breaks Its Promise to Victims of Rape

(5) Comments | Posted January 21, 2010 | 9:49 AM

Los Angeles was poised to become a national model for delivering justice to rape victims last year. The City approved a plan and funding to test the backlog of more than 7,000 sets of untested physical evidence from rape cases for DNA matches.

Then came last week's announcement that the...

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Vetoing Justice for Rape Victims

(1) Comments | Posted October 16, 2009 | 1:44 PM

Over the weekend, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California vetoed legislation that would have made California the first state in the nation to collect comprehensive data on the physical evidence collected from rape victims that is sitting in police storage facilities. The bill, AB1017, which sailed through both houses of the...

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Chicago Police Stonewall on Rape Investigations

(5) Comments | Posted October 9, 2009 | 6:01 PM

Julie was a graduate student at the University of Chicago when, in 2007, she was raped by a man she had been introduced to that night as a friend's new boyfriend. They were at a bar, and he was "acting weird toward me. He kept touching me and I kept...

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Sheriff Baca: Don't Let Rape Victims Down

(3) Comments | Posted July 6, 2009 | 11:41 AM

A year ago I interviewed the mother of a young woman from Wisconsin who had been raped by a man she met while visiting her cousin in Los Angeles. It had been eight months since the rape, and the rape kit -- the physical evidence -- in her daughter's case...

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Making Rape Victims Pay

(1) Comments | Posted May 13, 2009 | 5:37 PM

As a researcher on the rape kit backlog in the US, I have interviewed many survivors of rape. Still, this experience did not prepare me for the story I heard in January from a disabled woman in North Dakota who was brutally raped by an acquaintance.

While this woman...

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Violence Against Women: These Numbers Require Action

(1) Comments | Posted December 19, 2008 | 3:15 PM

The release of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) this week showing huge increases in the incidence of domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault barely made the news. For those who closely follow sexual violence statistics in the US, though, the numbers were alarming.

The reported incidents of domestic violence...

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Is There a Humane Way to Put Someone to Death?

(5) Comments | Posted October 31, 2007 | 6:07 PM

There was a time when public debate about the death penalty in the United States focused on concerns about racial discrimination, lack of competent counsel for indigent defendants, and executing the innocent. But with the Supreme Court set to hear oral arguments early next year on whether lethal injection is...

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Sex Offender Laws May Do More Harm Than Good

(12) Comments | Posted October 12, 2007 | 3:19 PM

Sex offender laws may be doing more harm than good. That is the conclusion Human Rights Watch came to after two years of intensive research into sex offender registration, community notification, and residency restriction laws in the United States. Our research convinced us that politicians failed to do their homework...

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