Kym Worthy Does What No One Else Will To Prosecute Rapists
Here at Feminspire, we love to celebrate women and their achievements. We also love badass women who work to improve the lives of others, so we were absolutely blown away when we read about Kym Worthy’s recent crusade to identify serial rapists. Kym Worthy is a single mum of three, and the first African-American woman to be a prosecutor in Wayne County, Michigan. She has spearheaded an initiative to go through 11,000 police rape kits that had long been sitting in a warehouse in Detroit, until one of her colleagues discovered them in 2009.
Kym Worthy has fought had to make sure that the perpetrators of these rapes are brought to justice, despite the fact that no one else seemed to take the matter seriously until the media was alerted by somebody in the police department. “No one really paid attention to what I was saying and yelling about till about four months in,” Worthy told Abigail Pesta of TheDailyBeast.
Her hard work has now paid off in spades, because she has since identified 21 serial rapists; 20 of whom were found to be matches from the national database, CODIS (Combined DNA Index System). This means that the perpetrators were already known to the police, who then failed to analyse the evidence when they committed another horrific crime. Who knows how many more women they would have attacked had Kym Worthy not taken it upon herself to do something about it?
One case that really brings home the seriousness and necessity of rape kit testing is Shelly Andre Brooks, a convicted rapist who, after raping a woman whose kit was recently analysed by Kym Worthy, had raped and murdered another five women. Those lives could have been saved if the police had taken the rape victims more seriously and given their cases the same diligence and respect as the victims of any other crime.
Unfortunately, that is rarely the case, and Detroit is not the only place in which rape kits are getting left set aside instead of looked at. According to endthebacklog.org, experts estimate there are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits throughout the US, which have been building up ever since they started being collected in the 1970s.
Kym Worthy is an incredible woman who is doing an amazing thing, but you have to wonder why the police didn’t take action when the 11,000 rape kits were found. Why weren’t they taking these cases seriously in the first place? It’s a known fact that very few reported rapes end in prosecution (13% in the US, according to fairly recent statistics), but the reason given for that tends to be that it’s incredibly hard to prove that the defendant is guilty. This may be true, but there is absolutely no excuse for the case to not be looked into at all, especially when the victim has shown incredible bravery and strength in coming forward to report it.
Kym, I applaud you. I only hope that the police follow your lead, and start to show rape victims the compassion and respect they deserve.