FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2014
Contact: Rebecca Acuña: (956) 206-5853
Wendy R. Davis for Governor Campaign
In Houston, Wendy Davis Discusses Her Record Of Cracking Down On Rapists And Empowering Survivors
Houston, TX– Today in Houston, Wendy Davis discussed her record of cracking down on rapists and empowering rape survivors, including the law she wrote to ensure more DNA testing of rape kits, addressing the backlog of 18,500 untested kits. Representative Senfornia Thompson, Councilmember Ellen Cohen, and Lavinia Masters, a survivor of sexual violence and victim’s advocate, joined Senator Davis at the press conference.
Lavinia Masters spoke about her 1985 attack and the fact that her rape kit went untested until 2005. “I have dedicated my life to shining a light on this issue, so others will never have to endure my pain,” said Lavinia Masters. “Senator Wendy Davis listened to survivors, and then she fought for us. But when Greg Abbott had a chance to help, he sided against a rape survivor. Some of you may have seen the new advertisement about Abbott’s ruling in that case. As voters, it is our job to hold our elected officials accountable. This ad empowers me and survivors like me with the information we need to make the right choice in November. I see the clear stakes in this election, and I know that my vote can hold Greg Abbott accountable.”
“The fact that we would ask survivors to expose themselves in their most vulnerable state, to subject themselves to the grueling experience of collection of evidence of their sexual assault, and then turn around and throw their trauma and their courage on a shelf for months or years without a second thought is offensive to them and to everything we stand for,” said Wendy Davis. “That law is bringing justice for countless survivors, and we’ve already seen its impact right here in Houston. The HPD and the City of Houston have contracted a local forensic lab, and they’re erasing their backlog and testing evidence in new crimes immediately.”
“As governor, I will continue to fight to empower rape survivors, eliminate the backlog of rape-kits, and fight for all hardworking Texans,” added Davis. “Greg Abbott has repeatedly sided with insiders and against Texans – even when they’re the victims of a brutal rape.”
In 2011, Wendy Davis wrote and passed a law to help eliminate the backlog of thousands of untested rape kits. The law established.
- An Audit of Outstanding Evidence: Required law enforcement agencies to go through an audit and categorize outstanding evidence. This resulted in the discovery of more than 18,500 untested kits.
- A Process for Testing Backlogged Kits.
- A Process Moving Forward: Set protocol for testing new evidence and avoid future backlogs.
In 2013, Wendy Davis continued to fight to empower rape survivors by making improvements to the rape-kit testing process. She:
- Worked with Republicans and Democrats to secure funding to continue testing the thousands of backlogged rape kits.
- Wrote and passed a law ensuring victims of sexual assault can be treated at almost every hospital emergency room in Texas. Prior to this bill, victims could be denied treatment and care at certain hospitals.
- Wrote and passed a law that allows rape survivors to receive notice when evidence collected from their assaults is moving in the prosecutorial process.
While on the Texas Supreme Court, Abbott sided against the victim of a brutal rape by a Kirby Vacuums door-to-door salesman whose company sent him into Texans’ homes to do vacuum cleaner demonstrations, despite the fact that a routine background check was not done, which would have revealed the salesman was a sexual predator on probation.