Gail’s Law: A House bill would require that rape kits be tracked

A woman whose rape went unsolved for 30 years spoke in front of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Monday to ask that lawmakers pass a law to create trackers on rape kits.

Gail Gardner, an Orange County resident, told lawmakers she was brutally raped by an intruder while her young son slept next to her at the time.

Her rape kit was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and for 32 years was never tested, she said.

Gail’s Law, as it’s called, would require that rape kits be tracked in order to avoid a wait like the one Garnder lived through for other rape survivors. The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee passed it unanimously. The bill has two more committee stops before being considered by the full chamber.

“I would be looking through the blinds, sleeping with lights on and calling the police because of every strange yet unfounded noise,” she said.

In 2020, Gardner was told by a detective that her case was still open. Eventually, her kit was tested and her attacker was linked to other cases and identified as a serial rapist, she said.

“I also learned he had been in prison for most of the 32 years while I suffered wondering if he would hurt me again,” she said.

In 2016, Florida passed a law requiring all rape kits be processed within 120 days, but to Gardner, that’s not enough.

Gardner wants a system with a victim portal where survivors can check the status of their kits throughout the process, she said.

The push to keep track of rape kits is important.

According to Witney Isbell, a nurse who is the sexual assault examiner for the Abuse Counseling and Treatment Center, said having to undergo a sexual assault examination is terrible.

“This is the part that we normally end on because it’s the part where the survivor has to become the most vulnerable, expose their body,” Isbell said.

If Gail’s Law passes, women who find themselves in a sexual assault examination room will know the probing and endless questions will have a purpose.

 

 

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Melissa Montoya
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