Senior Thesis: Persistence Yields Insights Into Untested Sexual Assault Kits
Princeton student Rebecca Basaldua's senior thesis relies on academic knowledge, research skill and a generous helping of tenacity.
The politics major's thesis focuses on rape kits, which contain physical evidence collected from sexual assault victims and can play an important role in identifying and convicting rapists. Sometimes, though, victims go through the invasive, hours-long procedure for the evidence to be collected only to see the kits remain untested for years.
Basaldua, who is from Edinburg, Texas, wanted to understand how often — and why — that happens.
When she found few answers in the limited academic research on the topic and scant data for her to analyze, she began to build her own sets of data. Basaldua looked first at a handful of states that require law enforcement agencies to report on untested rape kits, contacting government officials to provide data and answer questions. Eventually Colorado emerged as the state where the most useful information was available.
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