There are many questions and issues that arise when it comes to processing some of these "cold-case" rape kits that sit on the shelves by thousands all over the country. One of the issues that come up is that some of the victims knew their assailants...personally I do not understand how that concern can even arise especially since you have the evidence to rule out if that crime actually occurred as well as the opportunity to see if the assailant has a pattern of violating others or if they're the "missing link" to other unsolved rape cases. Then the one concern that cuts to the core of my soul every time I hear it is the concern over the cost and who will pay for it. I am disturbed when this is mentioned because you cannot put a price tag on the restoration of a victim after something as heinous as sexual assault has occurred. I am convinced that human life is worth more than $1,000 dollars, I am convinced that a victim's sanity is priceless...I am convinced because I was that victim at the age of 13 brutally raped in my home and not knowing who my attacker was for over 20 years...I was the one that lived in constant fear and paranoia because I did not know if he did in fact know my family and was lying in wait to attack and kill me like he promised on July 31, 1985.
Living as a victim of sexual assault, I had many ghosts that haunted me on a daily basis for over 20 years and although many were defeated by my faith and the grace of God; the ghost of the "unknown" or not knowing my perpetrator continued to haunt me. As you may or may not know that it is a traditional belief that a ghost is a soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that can appear in visible form or another manifestation to the living. Ghosts are generally described as solitary essesences that haunt particular locations, objects or people they were associated with in life. The summer before my assault there was a summer blockbuster that was released on June 8, 1984 entitled, "Ghostbusters". This movie later turned out to be one of my favorite all time movies- the basic plot of this movie was that 3 unemployed parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service. Then fast forward to May 2005; a determined Sergeant of the Dallas Police Department along with a compassionate victim coordinator and their associates set up shop with a unique ghost removal service as well. The ghosts they decided to remove were the ghosts of a victims pain...the ghosts of depression, confusion, bitterness, strife, anger but mainly the ghost of not knowing whom a victims assailant was...and the weapon that destroyed these ghosts...was the weapon of DNA!
As I write this piece I know that there are many Ghostbusters reading this...there are doctors, lawyers, judges, SANE nurses, victim coordinators, law enforcement, victim advocates, media, etc. You must realize that we not only have a powerful such as DNA to help destroy these ghosts of victims past but you have the heart, compassion, purpose and obligation to promote healing and restoration in a victim’s life as well as raise awareness to the public about DNA.
So if anyone ever asks you why police should take the time, money and effort to evaluate and re-open these "cold-case" sexual assaults....tell them my story…because I ain’t afraid of no ghost anymore!