When a rape is reported, the victim is medically examined, and the biological evidence acquired in that exam is called a "rape kit." That rape kit is used by prosecutors who try to bring the perpetrator to justice.
At least that's what is supposed to happen. But in many cases, it doesn't. Last month, a state audit found that half of all rape kits at the Oakland Police Department were never analyzed. Rape kit backlogs, it turns out, are plaguing the state. In Alameda County alone, the audit found close to 2,000 untested kits, dating back to 2001.
This past September, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1517, which sets time deadlines for rape kits to be analyzed. The bill was authored by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley - the first woman to hold the job.
O'Malley has been DA since 2009, and has worked in the Alameda County DA’s office since 1984. Throughout her tenure, she's focused on sexual assault, and violence against women. And now she's passionate about getting the rape kit backlog down to zero.
District Attorney O'Malley came to the station to talk about what drew her to issues of domestic violence and violence against women.
To hear the entire interview, click the audio player above.