The rape kit–or forensic evidence collection kit, to use its sanitized title–is something people in the West might take for granted. Not so in Sri Lanka where, until the advent of the sexual assault forensic examination (SAFE) program, there were no readily available rape kits. Instead, perpetrators of sexual violence acted with impunity.
To turn this tide, the Reintegration and Stabilization in the East and North program (RISEN)—a DAI-implemented program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiatives—launched the SAFE initiative. Of course, the introduction of rape kits will not in itself solve Sri Lanka’s pervasive problem of violence against women and girls. But when combined with SAFE’s other work, the humble $20 kit can be the building block for an integrated campaign against sexual violence. That is the mission of SAFE, and it is already beginning to show results.
Among its activities, SAFE is:
- Developing and distributing forensic evidence collection kits.
- Training medical and legal professionals in the use of kits and treatment of victims