We have a small group of people to thank for the modern rape kit: a Chicago police sergeant turned micro-analyst, a women’s rights activist and sexual assault survivor, and Hugh Hefner.
Yes, the man behind the most well known men’s magazines on the planet (the one that plastered naked women across its semi-gloss pages, the one that’s often credited with laying the foundation for mainstream porn culture) is part of the reason thousands of violent sexual offenders are behind bars.
The kit itself was by design of a Chicago cop named Louis Vitullo.
The Vitullo Evidence Collection Kit, as it was known, contained cotton swabs and microscopic slides for collecting sperm, labelled envelopes and boxes for hair samples and material found under the victim’s nails, a comb for public hair and bags for clothing.
It was first used in September, 1978, when a collection of 26 hospital emergency rooms in Cook County, Chicago, adopted it as part of the standard procedure for collecting evidence from sexual assault victims.