The following is a statement by State Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate John Chiang on the California budget “May Revise” Governor Brown plans to announce today:
“As Governor Brown revisits the budget in light of raised revenue projections, I ask that he work with the legislature to fully fund an initiative to end the backlog of untested rape kits in the State of California immediately. There are over 13,000 untested rape kits sitting on shelves right now in our state, which means more than 13,000 rapes have gone unsolved, more than 13,000 women have yet to see justice, and up to 13,000 rapists remain free to attack again on California streets. The total cost of ending the backlog would fall between $5 million and $13 million, and, as our state treasurer, I can say without any hesitation we have the funds to fully fund this effort immediately. But this isn’t a matter of funding, it is one of priorities, and we must prioritize public safety for Californians and, most importantly, justice for survivors. The women who have stepped forward deserve nothing less for the courage they’ve shown.”
Near the end of Sexual Assualt Awareness Month, John Chiang joined women activists from the Campaign to Abolish Statutes of Limitation on Rape and Sexual Assault, Hollywood NOW (National Organization of Women), California Peace Action, the Sacramento Chapter of the Handmaid Coalition, and MeToo March International, among others, to announce the circulation of a petition they created to end the rape kit backlog and call for all rape kits in the State of California to be tested immediately. More information on the announcement can be found here and the petition can be found here.
According to the Joyful Heart Foundation and End the Backlog, there are over 13,000 untested rape kits in California today. The cost of testing a rape kit falls between $400 and $1,000, which means that testing all untested rape kits in the state immediately would cost between $5 million and $13 million.
If the backlog isn’t addressed by January of next year, Chiang has pledged to immediately fund this effort and test all remaining rape kits as governor.
Chiang’s announcement followed the arrest of the criminal rapist and murderer known as the Golden State Killer. According to Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten, the suspect was arrested thanks to “discarded DNA evidence from his Sacramento area home” that was matched with “genetic evidence from the crimes.”