OKLAHOMA CITY - Thousands of rape kits never tested. Governor Mary Fallin is demanding those kits be tested.
At a meeting held Thursday, officials say they are prioritizing which kits will get tested first and are figuring out how much it will cost.
There are more than 7,000 untested rape kits across the state.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater says testing these kits could help law enforcement catch serial offenders and potentially prevent more crimes, but it will be costly.
“The legislature is going to have to determine how they want to move forward in funding that effort,” said Prater. “No one is against identifying sexual perpetrators and certainly arresting them and convicting them. Those are the ones we want to get off the street. Those are the ones that every police officer talks about and wants to take to jail.”
However, one of the task force members says some of the victims don't want them tested.
“A fear of reprisal,” said Karla Docter, task force member and Senior Legacy Officer for YWCA. “Depending on who the person was that assaulted them, they may fear for their life still and that this isn't a one time thing that happened. Sexual violence is something that effects someone to their core, so they have other safety concerns. They don't want the whole entire world to know.”
But, their hope is that rape victims won’t be afraid to come forward and have their voices heard due to the large number of untested kits. They need to know, they're not just a number.
“Justice is going to come within from healing within themselves, not necessarily something that we don`t have control over such as the justice system, so we want to empower each person that we serve and help them heal from the trauma," said Docter.
The next steps are to finalize a plan and sent it to the Governor.
That will happen at a meeting June 25.