In November 2017, then-Attorney General Josh Hawley said he was investigating the backlog of unprocessed rape kits.

In November 2019, Attorney General Eric Schmitt released the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence inventory results. The acronym SAFE sanitizes the word rape.

The numbers showed 6,157 out of 6,987 rape kits went untested in Missouri. This equates to 830 rape kits being tested, or 0.12%.

Mr. Schmitt stated the following: “These kits are not numbers. They are not footnotes to the reporting of a crime. They represent real human beings who have suffered, confronted their fears, reported the assault and submitted to a kit.”

A rape kit.

He said the most important aspect of his job is to ensure all Missouri citizens receive the full protection of the law against crimes of abuse and violence. Chapter 566 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri defines rape and other sexual offenses. Rape is a violent crime in Missouri. We cannot let them reduce that fact.

This past legislative session, the Republican-heavy statehouse passed, and the governor signed, a “heartbeat” bill banning abortions even in the event of rape or incest.

This fetal mania exhibited repeatedly by the Republicans has made it apparent to the women and girls of Missouri that if they are raped and impregnated, not only will they do little if anything to find the rapist, charge the rapist and incarcerate the rapist, they will ensure you have no right to autonomy.

You will be transformed from a victim to a vessel to carry to term (or not) the fetus of your rapist. It is a savage religion that tells these lawmakers that even in the event of rape, their God was there.

In October of this year, it was revealed that Department of Health & Senior Services Director Randall Williams utilized protected health information to form a database of women who access health care at the St. Louis Planned Parenthood facility.

He then used this information to track the menstrual cycles of the women. The state of Missouri has no tracking in the chain of evidence as it relates to rape kits of thousands; on the other hand, have found the means to track women’s periods as if they were cows.

Cattlemen practicing animal husbandry do the same. They track the cycles of their cows in order to produce the maximum number of calves. More calves pay the bills.

Jeannie Lahman lives in Centertown, Missouri. She is an activist and advocate for the rights of women and children, and she is an alumna of Columbia College.

About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

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