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Rape kit backlogs in Georgia still a concern, new documentary explores victims' stories

SCAD Film Fest.JPG
SCAD Savannah Film Festival (Credit: Shelbey Roberts)

As of October 30th, 4,523 rape kits in Georgia have yet to be processed. That number continues to grow.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says 21 of those unprocessed rape kits are coming out of Bryan County, Bulloch County, Chatham County, Effingham County and Liberty County as a result of Senate Bill 304.

"These kits are people and in all too many cases, justice has been denied because nothing happened," said Rep. Scott Holcomb of Georgia's 81st District.

Holcomb has been leading a charge for change as the author of Senate Bill 304. The new law requires local law enforcement to submit rape kits to the GBI within 30 days of evidence being collected.

"We have a law in place that ensures that the kits will be tested for victims of these crimes who want their kids to move forward and their cases to be prosecuted," Holcomb stated.

Holcomb says the law has brought an increase in the number of rape kits being processed, but there's still a big backlog.

Holcomb and Hollywood director and producer, Trish Adlesic, discussed the issue Monday afternoon during the SCAD Savannah Film Festival. The two participated in the movie screening of Adlesic's new documentary entitled "I Am Evidence". The film follows four victims of rape and their struggle for justice.

"It's not enough to just test the kits," Holcomb said. "We need to then take the information that is found and bring cases."

Holcomb says he's also working on a notification and tracking system to update survivors on the status of their rape kit.

The kit processing and legal prosecution takes time and money. But according to Holcomb, support for the issue is coming from both sides of the political aisle.

He stated, "In this most recent years budget, there was $1.2 million of additional monies put towards addressing the backlog. There's a serious push by both Republicans and Democrats to make sure that we address this and that we fix it and that it never happens again."

"I Am Evidence" will be available on HBO in late February or early March.