The Unseen Witness: Dna, Rape and Conviction

1301 Words6 Pages
The Unseen Witness: DNA, Rape and Convictions Shamara L. Turner American Public University Abstract Many people believe that the worst part about being a rape or sexual abuse victim is the act of the abuse itself. But many people fail to realize the stigma, stereotype and mental anguish that come along with the title of “rape victim” or “sexually abused victim”. Although the act of being forced against your innermost will to participate in a sexual act with someone you may either not know or someone whom you do not wish to be intimately connected with is something, that to some can be worse than death itself. The issues that arise after the initial act can sometimes be more brutal and invasive than the act of rape or abuse. For this reason many sexual assaults remain unreported or are covered up once they are reported. Many rape victims wash away vital trace evidence when they try to wash away the smell or memory of their attacker or assault. Even with this evidence some rape trial containing DNA evidence have still been blotched. This paper will show the importance of DNA evidence collection and proper processing in order to help assist in the conviction of rape or sexual assault offenders. The Unseen Witness: DNA, Rape and Convictions When a crime such as sexual assault is committed, one of the greatest sources of trace evidence is the victim themselves. Because of the close and personal nature of this crime, the victim is usually law enforcement’s first and best clue to who commit such an act. In criminal sexual cases the offender's DNA may be left on the victim's body, their clothing or at the crime scene. This DNA can be obtained from many different sources and areas on the victim. Some of these including saliva, sweat, blood, semen, hair, and skin cells. DNA evidence from all of these sources can play a critical part in the identification of the
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